Help us help them.

Our goal is simple – stop the cycle of homelessness among youth before they become long-term homeless adults.

Our Work

United Way coordinates the local effort of over 30 partners to improve services and housing for youth we refer to as “in transition.” Typically the youth and young adults are ages 17-24, lack the support to realize their potential and may be exiting foster care, justice systems, be runaways or otherwise without support of a family or guardian. Over the last year, 628 homeless youth 17-24 years were served with some type of housing or service last year in Richland and Lexington counties. However, we know that many youth do not engage in traditional homeless settings like shelters, since those tend to focus on older adult populations. 

In the last three years there has been a dramatic expansion of housing, services, and street outreach for youth, including 78 new units of youth-orientated housing, street outreach, and a youth drop-in center. 

View our list of upcoming youth resiliency trainings.

Download our Youth Plan

Find Help

If you are a homeless youth who needs help, please call or come by our drop-in center, or call 211 for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

MIRCI's Youth Drop-In Center

Our outreach youth drop-in center is open every day from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. for showers, meals, and case management help. We serve youth ages 17-24.

1433 Gregg Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Helping Homeless Youth

In 2016, JaQuan became homeless. Through the services provided by Transitions, he was able to lift himself up and now he devotes his energy to helping other homeless youth.

Our Impact

In the fall of 2017, United Way released a Midlands Youth Plan detailing a comprehensive approach to focus on young people, ages 17 to 24, who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness. Our goal is to prevent the cycle of homelessness among vulnerable youth and support them to achieve their life purpose.

  • United Way, in partnership with 50 community partners, supported programs have provided new resources to address youth homelessness in our community.
  • 32 new permanent and rapid re-housing units 
  • 46 new shelter and transitional housing beds for youth
  • 130 youth were placed in housing and 54 remained stable in housing after six months
  • 628 homeless youth (ages 17-24) were served with some type of housing or service from 2016 to 2017 in Richland and Lexington counties

Our Research

Youth in Transition System Experience Prior to Homelessness

Understanding the causes of homelessness is important to help mitigate those predictors prior to someone becoming homeless. There is little research or data that examines the age range of 17-24 and their experiences with various systems prior to becoming homeless. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to provide a better understanding of the experience and contributing factors of youth who become homeless in the midlands of South Carolina.

Youth in Transition Assessment

This report provides information on youth in transition in Columbia; maps available resources for housing, education, and employment support for this population; and highlights effective programs employed in other communities to serve these vulnerable youth.

Point in Time Count

The PIT Count takes an unduplicated census of people experiencing homelessness – sheltered or not – on a given night in January and helps communities better understand the magnitude and characteristics of its homeless population. 

See All Homelessness Research


Want to help homeless youth get back on their feet? Donate to United Way to provide programs that help them find stability.