Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ)


Criminal Justice, Criminology, & Forensics

First Advisor

Peter Collins

Second Advisor

Elaine Gunnison

Third Advisor

Tonia Hess


Youth and young adults exiting the juvenile justice system are at risk for entering a new system- the homeless system. This current research aims to understand the conditions that youth enter the homeless system. Current research and homeless reports from point in time (PIT) counts and other databases do not measure specific circumstances of housing instability such as couch surfing or “doubling up” with friends and close relatives versus couch surfing with strangers, and whether there are potentially criminogenic transactions or conditions that juveniles must adhere to in order to sustain this temporary housing. Methods include two areas of analysis. First, this research examines four youth and young adult social service providers with reported experiences with serving youth and young adults who are couch surfing in two large counties in Washington State using an outward snowball sample methodology through qualitative semi-structured interviews. Second, a univariate and bivariate quantitative analysis of Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data was conducted to assess frequency and mean differences of young adults in King County, Washington who had entered a HUD-funded homeless program between 2020 to 2021. Results of this research, policy implications, and recommendations for future research will be discussed.