The SHC Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program

[Deadline to apply: November 10, 2019, 11:59 PM PST]

  • Provides scholarships to youth who have experienced homelessness to ensure their completion of a post-secondary education program.
  • Assists youth with financial aid processes, mental health advocacy and referrals, professional legal advocacy and referrals, and assistance in locating and establishing local contacts for general support and services.
  • Builds a stable peer and adult support network for recipients, before, during, and after their college careers, and into their transition into the workforce.
  • Offers young people meaningful opportunities to engage in advocacy, while providing sustained support services to help ensure graduation and success in life.
The Award
  • $2,000 scholarship award.
  • A minimum of 10 scholarships are awarded.
  • A trip to a national awards ceremony (travel and expenses included).
  • Second gathering in Washington, DC, one year after the initial scholarship award (all expenses included).
Who Should Apply? 
  • Applicants must have been born on or after Nov. 11, 1999.
  • Applicants must be entering college for the first time during the 2020-21 school year. This means that the application is for high school seniors; for those who are in GED programs; or for those who have taken a gap year.
  • Applicants who have experienced homelessness within the last six years are eligible to apply.
  • Undocumented students who meet these criteria are eligible.
  • Students must reside in the United States.

Click here for a printable flyer to share with teachers, counselors, service providers, and young people.

For more information, please contact Jordyn Roark (


Below are some of the frequently asked questions about the scholarship program. If you have further questions, please contact

How recent does my homelessness have to be to apply?

Within the last six years.

What do you consider homeless? I've never stayed in a shelter or outside.

We use the federal education definition of homelessness. It specifically covers children and youth living in shelters, transitional housing, cars, campgrounds, motels, and sharing the housing of others temporarily due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons. Please read the full definition here:

The term “homeless children and youths”–
(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and

(B) includes–
(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;
(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

My GPA is lower than I'd like because I had some rough semesters/years. Am I still eligible?

We do not have a minimum GPA requirement. If you meet the criteria, you should apply! We know that the circumstances of homelessness can cause periods of academic hardship. The essay component of the application is the best place to explain your academic performance and any information you would like us to consider.

I'm having trouble loading documents to your system. What do I do?

Please refresh the system and make sure you are loading a file type that the system accepts. If those efforts do not work, please email Jordyn Roark at We want your application to be complete!

I am taking a gap year. Am I still eligible?

Yes. As long as you graduated high school or completed a GED program and have a birthday on or after Nov. 11, 1999, you are eligible.

Can I submit an essay that I used for my college application for your scholarship?

Our essay asks for some specific information about your education and experience with homelessness. It is unlikely that other essays will match our criteria. Please consider writing an essay specific to our scholarship, as we read and consider each essay carefully.

I have undocumented status. Am I still eligible for your scholarship?


Some of the details of my homelessness and my life seem too personal to share. Do you want to read essays with personal details?

It is your choice to withhold any details that you do not want to share. Essays are confidential, and are not shared with anyone outside of the selection committee.

I have not been identified as homeless by my school but I am experiencing/ have experienced homelessness. Am I eligible?

Yes. You may apply for our scholarship even if you have not been identified as homeless by your school.

I am currently 19 years old. Is that the right age to apply?

Yes. Anyone who was born on or after Nov. 11, 1999 is eligible.

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