This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Findings from the Transitional Living Program Youth Outcomes Study

Anna Mahathey, Scott Brown, Tanya de Sousa, Karen Loya, Jessica Thornton Walker, and Alisa Santucci


October 22, 2021

Transitional Living Programs (TLPs) operate within an overarching service framework prescribed by the Family and Youth Services Bureau. In response to a mandated study of long-term outcomes for youth who are served through a TLP, Abt Global was asked to conduct the Youth Outcomes Study. Abt produced findings in five categories, including:

  1. Housing: Three-quarters (78 percent) of youth went to a permanent housing situation upon exiting TLP. Housing-related supports that TLPs provided to youth during their stay may have helped prepare them to find and maintain stable housing. 
  2. Employment: Youth employment rates were higher during TLP participation than before participation, with employment rates of 62 percent versus 52 percent. 
  3. Earnings: While youth were able to find jobs during TLP participation that had the potential to elevate their earnings above federal poverty guidelines, persistent employment instability may have prevented them from reaching that higher level of earnings.
  4. Education: Staff-reported information suggested that education goals may have been a lower priority for some youth relative to other targeted TLP goals. The proportion of youth who were ever enrolled in a postsecondary education program during TLP (15 percent) was smaller than during the 18 months prior to TLP entry (22 percent). 

COVID-19. The pandemic may have affected youth housing, employment and earnings, and education plans. About one in 10 study participants (11 percent) reported entering TLP because of the pandemic and one-third of participants reported having lost or left a job because of the pandemic. The pandemic may have also affected study participants’ education: 8 percent reported they did not finish at least one of their courses because of the COVID-19 pandemic; 8 percent reported their education program closed; and 8 percent said their classes moved online but they were unable to attend.