Utilization and Perceptions of Drop-in Center Services Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Drop-in centers offer a range of services to assist unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, but little is known about their perceptions of drop-in centers or use of different services. A random sample of 273 youth experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles area who had ever used a drop-in center was surveyed. Most youth heard about local drop-in centers from peers (65.1%). They generally reported positive perceptions of the drop-in center environment, staff, and clients; overall, 57.8% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the services they had received. Nearly all youth cited basic services (e.g., food, showers, clothes) as a reason they went to drop-in centers; far fewer reported going to obtain higher-level services (e.g., case management). Perceptions and utilization did not differ by sexual orientation; however, non-white youth were more likely than Whites to use drop-in centers for certain higher-level services. Strategies for engaging youth in drop-in center services are discussed.
This study was funded by NIH/NIDA grant no. R21DA039076.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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