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J Adolesc Health. 2016 Aug;59(2):144-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.03.035. Epub 2016 May 27.

Facilitators and Barriers of Drop-In Center Use Among Homeless Youth.

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RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California. Electronic address:
RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California.


Drop-in centers for homeless youth address basic needs for food, hygiene, and clothing but can also provide critical services that address youth's "higher level" needs (e.g., substance use treatment, mental health care, HIV-related programs). Unlike other services that have restrictive rules, drop-in centers typically try to break down barriers and take a "come as you are" approach to engaging youth in services. Given their popularity, drop-in centers represent a promising location to deliver higher level services to youth that may not seek services elsewhere. A better understanding of the individual-level factors (e.g., characteristics of homeless youth) and agency-level factors (e.g., characteristics of staff and environment) that facilitate and impede youth engagement in drop-in centers will help inform research and outreach efforts designed to engage these at-risk youth in services. Thus, the goal of this review was to develop a preliminary conceptual model of drop-in center use by homeless youth. Toward this goal, we reviewed 20 available peer-reviewed articles and reports on the facilitators and barriers of drop-in center usage and consulted broader models of service utilization from both youth and adult studies to inform model development.


Drop-in center; Homeless youth; Review; Service receipt

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