Thousands of young people run away from their homes, are asked to leave their homes, or become homeless in the United States each year. Since 1975, the U.S. government has funded emergency shelter programs for runaway and homeless youth to provide for their immediate needs and promote family reunification. Unfortunately, many homeless young people can’t go home.

In response to growing concern for youth in need of long-term, supportive assistance that emergency shelter programs were not designed to provide, Congress created the Transitional Living Program for Older Homeless Youth as part of the 1988 Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) funded the first transitional living programs in 1990.

Program History

The intent of the FYSB-funded Transitional Living Program is to provide a safety net and strong emotional support system for young people to transition into self-sufficiency.

FYSB’s Transitional Living Program provides long-term residential services to homeless youth ages 16 to 22. Services are provided for up to 540 days, or in exceptional circumstances, up to 635 days. Young people who have not yet turned 18 after 635 days may stay in a program until their 18th birthday.

Transitional living programs helped over 5,000 homeless youth transition to life on their own in FY 2016.


Services offered through the Transitional Living Program are designed to help young people who are homeless make a successful transition to self-sufficient living. Grantees are required to offer the following services, either directly or by referral:

Extended residential shelter

  • Group homes
  • Maternity group homes
  • Host family homes
  • Supervised apartments

Service coordination plan

  • Referral of homeless youth to social services, law enforcement, educational services, vocational training, welfare, legal services, health care programs, affordable child care, and/or child education programs

Transitional living plan

  • Transition plan from supervised participation to independent living or another appropriate living arrangement

Basic life skills resources and counseling service

  • Money management, budgeting, consumer education, use of credit
  • Parenting skills (Maternity Group Homes program only)
  • Interpersonal skill-building
  • Educational advancement
  • Job attainment skills
  • Mental and physical health care
  • Individual and/or group counseling and parent/child counseling

Outreach plans

FYSB also requires grantees to incorporate elements of Positive Youth Development, which suggests that the best way to prevent risky behavior is to help young people achieve their full potential. Youth development strategies focus on leadership, skill-building, and community involvement.

Grant Award Process

FYSB funds the Transitional Living Program under the provisions of the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-378). The Transitional Living Program currently funds 236 grantees receiving $45.29 million.

FYSB solicits applications for the Transitional Living Program by posting funding announcements on the Grants.govvisit disclaimer page website. Applications are competitively reviewed by peer panels, and successful applicants receive five-year grants.

Contact Us

National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families
8120 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 850
Bethesda, MD 20814
Telephone: (833) GET-RHYi (833-438-7494)
Fax: (301) 828-1506