Utilization and Perceptions of Drop-in Center Services Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness

  • Layla ParastEmail author
  • Joan S. Tucker
  • Eric R. Pedersen
  • David Klein


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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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection  2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA

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