Your Name and Title:

Julie Ann Winkelstein, MLIS, PhD

What Can Libraries Do to Help Prevent Youth Homelessness?

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: United States

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Public library staff, academic library staff, community members, social service agencies, non-profits

Short Session Description (one line): This presentation will focus on ways in which libraries can play a role in preventing youth homelessness.

Full Session Description:

Across the United States and Canada, many libraries are addressing the needs of their unhoused community members, with a particular emphasis on single adults. Yet each year in the U.S., as many as 1.4 million youth, ages 13 to 24, will experience homelessness and in Canada 30,000 to 40,000 youth will have this experience.

In recent years, organizations such as Point Source Youth (;, A Way Home (,  The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (, True Colors United (, and Homeless Hub ( are focusing more of their attention on prevention. As noted on the Homeless Hub website: “In our efforts to end homelessness, we have primarily focused on providing emergency services and supports to young people while they are homeless. Unfortunately, this hasn’t gotten us the results we want. Youth homelessness in Canada is an ongoing problem for which we seem to be making slow but insufficient progress. It is time to consider a new approach – the prevention of youth homelessness” ( 

In this presentation, I will provide a brief overview of youth homelessness and of these prevention approaches, and offer concrete suggestions for the role urban, suburban and rural libraries can and should play in these efforts. Libraries alone cannot prevent youth homelessness, but we can join others, by creating partnerships, asking questions, listening, providing supportive spaces and being creative with our resources.

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