U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

HOST Youth: The Challenges of Growing up in Low-Income Housing

NCJ Number
Reed Jordan; Amanda Mireles; Susan Popkin
Date Published
October 2013
8 pages
This brief draws on findings from the 2012 survey of parents and youth living in the first two HOST sites, so as to show how these children living in public housing were faring at the start of the HOST (Housing Opportunity and Services Together) intervention.
The HOST Demonstration is testing the feasibility and effectiveness of two-generation intensive service models that combine intensive case management and employment services for adults along with targeted services for children and youth, including clinical groups, after-school and tutoring support, and goal-setting. In order to provide a baseline assessment of conditions at two HOST sites - Chicago's Altgeld Gardens and Portland's New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens - the 2012 survey measured youth school performance. Findings indicate HOST youths, particularly in Chicago, are at high risk of or already are falling behind their peers in school performance, with prospects for disconnecting from the school system, or dropping out. Chicago's Altgeld Gardens appears to be a more distressed community with higher rates of crime and disorder and lower collective efficacy than Portland's New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens. According to their self-reports, 20 percent of youth ages 12 to 16 in Chicago reported having attacked someone or been in a serious fight, compared with only 6.3 percent in Portland. Although the survey found that HOST youth do not appear to be in poor physical health, the mental and emotional toll from living in disadvantaged public housing and witnessing and experiencing trauma and violence is evident. The mental health findings suggest that the need for clinical mental health services is great in both sites, but particularly among Chicago youth. The HOST model is designed to address the comprehensive needs of these youth. 3 figures, 20 references, 11 notes, and 1 table