Transitional Living Programs for Older Homeless Youth

(Information provided by the Family Youth Services Bureau, ACYF, ACF, and DHHS)


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, under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA), as amended, the Federal Government has funded emergency shelter programs for runaway and homeless youth that provide for the immediate needs of these youth and their families and promote family reunification. Unfortunately, however, many young people who are homeless today cannot return to their families. Some have escaped abusive situations; others are the victims of neglect, abandonment, or severe family conflict.

In response to the growing concern for these youth, Congress determined that many young people need long-term, supportive assistance that emergency shelter programs were not designed to provide. As a result, Congress created the Transitional Living Program for Older Homeless Youth (TLP) as part of the 1988 Amendments to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), Title III of the JJDPA. The TLP was modeled after several successful demonstration projects funded in the early 1980s by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Congress assigned administration of the TLP to the HHS. Within HHS, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) funded the first TLP projects in 1990.

Today, FYSB continues to fund the Transitional Living Program through the Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Protection Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-96), which reauthorizes the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and provides funding for the organizations and shelters that serve and protect runaway, homeless, missing, and sexually exploited children (to view the act, you must first download and install the free Acrobat Reader, if you have not previously done so). In FY 2003, $36.7 million funded 191 communities to support TLP. This funding will also support the Presidential initiative that created maternity group homes, transitional living programs for young mothers and their children.


The mission of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) is to provide national leadership on youth issues and to assist individuals and organizations in providing effective, comprehensive services for youth in at-risk situations and their families. The goals of FYSB programs are to provide positive alternatives for youth, ensure their safety, and maximize their potential to take advantage of available opportunities.

Through the TLP, FYSB supports projects that provide longer term residential services to homeless youth ages 16-21 for up to 18 months. These services are designed to help youth who are homeless make a successful transition to self-sufficient living.

TLP grantees are required to provide youth with stable, safe living accommodations and services that help them develop the skills necessary to move to independence. Living accommodations may be host family homes, group homes, maternity group homes, or "supervised apartments." (Supervised apartments are either agency-owned apartment buildings or "scattered site" apartments, which are single-occupancy apartments rented directly by young people with support from the agency.) TLPs also provide pregnant or parenting youth with parenting skills, including child development, family budgeting, health and nutrition, and other skills to promote their long-term economic independence in order to ensure the well-being of their children.

Services Provided

TLP grantees are required to offer the following services, either directly or by referral:

  • Safe, stable living accommodations
  • Basic life-skill building, including consumer education and instruction in budgeting, using credit, housekeeping, menu planning, food preparation, and parenting skills
  • Interpersonal skill building, including enhancing young people's abilities to establish positive relationships with peers and adults, make decisions, and manage stress
  • Educational opportunities, such as GED preparation, postsecondary training, or vocational education
  • Assistance in job preparation and attainment, such as career counseling and job placement
  • Education, information, and counseling to prevent, treat, and reduce substance abuse
  • Mental health care, including individual and group counseling
  • Physical health care, including routine physicals, health assessments, and emergency treatment

FYSB's Grant Award Process

FYSB solicits applications through an annual Federal Register announcement. Applications are competitively reviewed by peer panels, and successful applicants receive 5-year grants.



Click here for a list of Wisconsin's Transitional Living Programs

Transitional Living Programs

  • Walkers Point Youth and Family Center

  • Insights Young Adult TLP:Lori Runge
    2030 West National Avenue
    Milwaukee, WI 53204
    (414) 672-5531

  • Project 16:49
    Tammy DeGarmo, Executive Director
    740 North Randall Avenue
    Janesville, WI 53545
    (608) 314-5501

  • Family Services of NE WI, Inc.
    PO Box 22308
    Green Bay, WI 54305-2308
    (920) 438-1616
    Director: Meika Burnikel

  • Kenosha Human Development Services, Inc.
    Transitional Housing Services
    Homeless Youth Project
    Director: Lisa Haen
    4844 42nd Avenue
    Kenosha, WI 53143
    (262) 654-8368

  • Briarpatch Youth Services 
    Transitional Living Program
    Program Coordinator: Robin Sereno 
    2720 Rimrock Road
    Madison, Wisconsin 53713