This article aims to contribute to understandings of youth homelessness and subjectivity by analysing identity construction in terms of young people’s negotiation of the structural and institutional environment of youth homelessness. I suggest that while existing literature on this topic concentrates mainly on micro-social encounters, the identities of young people experiencing homelessness can be understood as constructed by structural processes described by Ulrich Beck’s individualisation thesis. Narratives from 20 Australian young people are analysed for how their identities are constructed in their contact with the institutions which govern youth homelessness, and the way these young people make sense of the structural conditions they are facing. Two narrative trajectories are identified. In narratives describing movement into homelessness, young people articulate feelings of failure and shame, consequences of their individualised understanding of their biography. In narratives describing movement out of homelessness into a home, young people articulate feelings of strength and pride, while also describing those who remain homeless in ways which reflect the status of homelessness as a stigmatised difference. This article concludes by discussing the way that structural, institutional and subjective processes interact to produce the identities of young people experiencing homelessness, and reflects on the utility of understanding youth homelessness as a form of individualised social inequality.