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National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Nothing Is for Free...: Youth Attitudes About Engaging Resources While Unstably Housed

Samuels, G.M., Cerven, C., Curry, S.R., Robinson, S.R.
Type new
Journal Article
Year published new

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research

Journal Name


Volume new

This journal article presents findings from a national study of 215 youth, ages 13 to 25, experiencing housing instability in five US counties. The researchers used life-course interviews, a housing timeline tool, and background survey data to explore the participants use and rejection of both formal and informal resources. From their analysis, the researchers created a model of “youth logics of engagement” that shaped how youth interpreted the costs versus benefits of using available resources. The model includes the interrelated factors of identity protection, accumulated experience, and personal agency. The researchers contend youth may unintentionally expose themselves to physical risks by avoiding resources they believe might comprise their emotional, psychological, or relational well-being.


Entire journal issue available free of charge on the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research website at:…

Accession number
Electronically published journal article, but not part of an issue