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Examining How Service Providers Can Better Serve Needs of Homeless Youth

When Elaine Williams was in middle school, her family was evicted from its Richmond apartment. Without a home of their own, the Williams family had no choice but to live with family friends for the next several years.

“I experienced unstable housing in my childhood, which led to homelessness in my adolescent years,” said Williams, a senior in the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. “At the time, I was unaware what unstable housing or homelessness even was. It was my normal. It was what I dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

During her first semester at VCU, Williams joined the Advocates for Richmond Youth, a “participatory action research team” of young people, all of whom have direct experience with homelessness or unstable housing, who are working to prevent youth homelessness in Richmond and beyond.

As part of her work with the organization, Williams has been researching the experiences and service needs of Richmond-area youth who are facing homelessness and housing instability but who do not meet the traditional definition of homelessness.

Read the full VCU News article.