With the economy today a lot of teenagers don’t have jobs, so if their parents kick them out then they onto really have a choice but to slum in the streets or if possible find a shelter. Youth homelessness has improved over the years but there are still many more ways to make it less prevalent. Although, most teens don’t experience long-term homelessness, they usually find a relative or find a way to make it on their own. The National Coalition Of the Homeless says that the three major causes of homelessness are family problems, economic problems, and residential instability.
None of this information is surprising because of physical and sexual abuse within families and the economy nonfatal and homes being foreclosed. Since most youth can’t afford to sustain themselves on their own they turn to other means to make money. Some of these ways are selling drugs and selling their body. Believe that by getting themselves involved in such risky behavior at a young age they will set themselves up for failure in the future. Most homeless youth will experience post-traumatic stress disorder and often have high anxiety and suffer from depression.
Another way that homeless youth set themselves up for failure in the future is that most are unable to attend school or drop out of school all gather. Ifs not always easy to identify youth on the streets through typical counts of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness. Homeless youth are less likely to spend time in the same places as homeless people who are in an older age range. They are often less willing to disclose that they’re experiencing homelessness or may not even identify as homeless. They also may work harder to try to blend in with peers who arena homeless.
The Alliance estimates that during a year approximately 550,000 unaccompanied, single youth and young adults up to age 24 experience a homelessness episode of longer than one week. Approximately 380,000 of those youth are under the age of 18 (National Alliance to End Homelessness). Youth homelessness as I see it is almost an epidemic. If a child or teen doesn’t know how to survive on their own the choice to run away or simply leave because of family problems, economic troubles or residential stability can almost be fatal. They’re not getting the care they would get at home or in a shelter, they’re getting little or not care at all. Everyone needs some place to call their home” (Homeless). Homelessness among youth in the U . S. Is disturbingly moon. There is no typical homeless youth, and there is no single cause for youth homelessness. Youth who experience homelessness and have varied explanations for why they become homeless in the first place or why they may remain so. Yet, it is difficult to determine the degree to which any particular characteristic or experience might be a primary cause or a contributing factor to youth homelessness.
On the contrary, gender and age, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, family poverty, family conflict and abuse and emotional and mental problems are usually common in homeless youth. Youth consistently report family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness. Sources of conflict vary but include conflicts with parents over a youth’s relationship with a step-parent, sexual activity and sexual orientation, pregnancy, school problems, and alcohol and drug use (Heinlein, G. , Owen). Neglect and physical or sexual abuse in the home are also common experiences.
Homeless youth said that their parents were more physically and verbally aggressive toward them, and that they were more verbally aggressive toward their parents. While violence from these youth ay very well have been in response to the parent’s initial violence, violence in these families seemed to occur in a context where both the youth and their parents may be engaging in violent or provocative behavior and escalation could be a dangerous prospect. Many homeless adolescents report illegal behavior. However, some of this behavior may be part of their strategies for survival.
Some illegal behaviors may provide for basic needs directly while others may generate income to meet basic needs. In a 4-state Midwestern sample of 602 homeless youth, 23 percent reported stealing, 14 percent arced entry to a residence, 20 percent dealt drugs, and 2 percent engaged in prostitution (L. B. Whitlock). Similarly in an unusual sample of 409 Los Angels street youth (ages 12-23), 43 percent of the sample reported ever engaging in survival sex, which included trading sex for food, a place to stay, drugs, or money (Alex Lee). One way to prevent homelessness is to create more alternative residential locations for youth.
This would continue to encourage foster placement with extended family members who would take in youth who have already separate from their family of origin. Some homeless youth already make use of extended family members as an occasional housing option. This strategy may increase the ability or motivation of extended family members to house the youth. Covenant house is a great housing facility for struggling youth. Their mission is to help homeless kids escape the street. They are the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing loving care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth.
Covenant House is not your ordinary charity organization. It is a leading advocate on behalf of homeless youth – those who can’t speak up or themselves at local, state, national, and international levels of government There are ways out of homelessness, yet some don’t want to turn to them. Youth can return to their parents or ask extended family to take them in. If neither of those choices work for the youth then they can look for an independent living program or a shelter, although most shelters run out of space for youth and independent living program is their best bet.
I’ve heard of peer outreach programs where youth go out with adults and help the homeless youth, because youth will trust other youth. I can see this being a good thing because it could help get some kids off the streets, may not be a permanent solution but if it can temporarily keep kid off the street and out of trouble and even sheltered and fed. . While these are rough estimate made using imperfect information, it is a good starting point from which communities and the federal government can begin to scale resources and interventions. National Alliance to End Homelessness) While there are evaluations of programs to assist homeless youth, there is very little research comparing interventions and none examining how efferent interventions address the issues of the different subpopulations. Nevertheless, communities have reasonable evidence to increase support to family intervention efforts and to target existing housing programs to youth with the highest needs. Ultimately, better, more accurate data must be collected on the number of youth that experience homelessness as well as the effective interventions to end homelessness for youth.
Currently, only approximately 50,000 youth per year are served by targeted homeless youth programs. Clearly this falls far short of demand and more resources are added to respond adequately to youth homelessness and communities should include youth in their long-term strategic planning efforts to end homelessness for all populations. , with an estimated annual prevalence of at least 5 percent for those ages 12 to 17. Although homeless youth appear throughout the nation, they are most visible in major cities. Rigorous research on this special population is sparse, making it difficult to capture an accurate and complete picture.
Despite its limitations, recent research describes homeless youth as a large and diverse group. Many homeless youth have multiple overlapping problems including medical, substance abuse, and emotional and mental problems. Literature suggests that comprehensive and tailored services are needed that address both the immediate and long-term needs of homeless youth. Where appropriate, services should include assistance with meeting basic needs as perceived by youth as a gateway to other needed services. In addition to serving those already homeless, interventions are needed to prevent homelessness among at-risk youth.
Lessons for Practitioners, Policy Makers, and Researchers As used here, the term “homeless youth” focuses on minors who have experienced literal homelessness on their own-?I. E. , who have spent at least one night either in a shelter or “on the streets” without adult supervision. On occasion, where warranted by the research being discussed, the term is also used to describe homeless young adults up to age 24. ; Homelessness among youth in the U. S. Is disturbingly common. With an estimated annual prevalence of at least 5 percent for those ages 12 to 1 7, adolescents appear to be at greater risk for literal homelessness than adults.
Although homeless out appear throughout the nation, they are most visible in major cities. ; Research on homeless youth has major limitations. Rigorous research on this special population is sparse, making it difficult to capture an accurate and complete picture of homeless youth. Research would benefit from studies that include large representative samples, reliable and valid measures, comparison groups, and assessment of strengths as well as problems of homeless youth. Research with this special population would likely benefit from more input by service providers, policy makers, and the youth themselves. Despite limitations of the literature, it seems clear that homeless youth constitute a large and diverse group ; Many youth have multiple overlapping problems. Many youth come from homes where family conflict and child maltreatment are common. A wide range of health and behavior problems have been documented among homeless youth, including substance abuse, emotional and mental problems, and medical problems. While some of these problems appear to be long-standing, others are probably exacerbated by the stressful experiences of homelessness.
Homeless youth, especially those on the streets, sometimes resort to illegal activities such as prostitution or drug dealing in order to survive. Many youth are victimized while homeless. ; Few interventions with homeless youth have been formally evaluated. Careful program evaluation of services is sorely needed, especially based on rigorous experimental designs. ; The limited literature Suggests that comprehensive and tailored services are needed that address the immediate and long-term needs of homeless youth. Where perceived by youth as a gateway to other needed services.
Other needed services include screening and treatment for health, mental health, and absence use problems, reconciling family conflict, and educational or vocational training. In addition to serving those already homeless, interventions designed to prevent homelessness among at-risk youth are needed. Estimating Needs Based on Existing Research Homelessness among young people in the United States and other nations is a serious and complex problem. (l) The population of homeless youth seems to have disproportionately high rates of health problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and substance use.
Homelessness itself potentially poses health risks to youth and can interrupt normal colonization and education, which likely affects a young person’s future ability to live independently. This paper provides a profile of homeless youth in the US, documenting their diversity and their service needs. The paper then describes various intervention approaches for homeless youth and discusses relevant social policy. It ends with recommendations for future research. Limitations of Existing Literature The available literature on homeless adolescents has major limitations.
Rigorous research on this special population is sparse. Much research and other information about homeless youth is fugitive and often dated. As a body of research, it is much less rigorous than contemporary research on homeless adults or families. Information on homeless youth in large urban areas is most prevalent but may not generalize to other areas, and different definitions and methods often prohibit meaningful comparisons. Cross- sectional samples over represent longer-term homeless youth, which results in an over-reporting of factors related to chronic homelessness.
In addition, many studies lack rigorous sampling strategies, which limits their generalization. Capturing a complete picture of homeless youth is difficult. In mom cases, what is known about a particular characteristic of homeless youth may be based on a single study. Where multiple studies are available, findings may be contradictory. Often contradictory findings occur because the results from a study depend very much on the source of its sample. Recent literature has relied on four basic approaches to sampling.
One surveys large groups of teens in the general population and identifies youth from this pool who have a history of homelessness (e. G. , Ringlet et al. , 1998; Winded, 1989). These approaches under-represent youth who have longer histories of namelessness or institutional histories. The second approach draws youth from shelters (e. G. , McCall et al. , 1 998) who are often younger and less likely to have previous histories of homelessness. The third draws a sample from clinical settings such as medical clinics (Yates et al. , 1988).
Such studies describe youth seeking treatment and who are Often very different from youth who do not seek treatment. The fourth involves sampling from street locations where homeless youth are known to congregate (e. G. , Sauce et al. , AAA; Kepi et al. , 1995; Robertson, 1989). This street-sampling method, specially if it includes youth who are 18 or older, generally yields a much more “deviant” profile of homeless youth. Despite its limitations, recent literature suggests that homeless youth constitute a large and very diverse population.
Definitions Defining what constitutes a “homeless youth” may seem fairly straightforward but, in fact, the issues involved in the task are rather complicated. Most researchers studying homeless persons tend to focus on persons who are “literally homeless” (Rossi, 1989). In this paper, we take a similar approach, using the term ‘homeless youth” to refer primarily to minors on their own who have spent at least one night either in emergency shelter or “on the streets”-?that is, in places outdoors or in improvised shelter without parental supervision. (2) An important decision to be made in defining “homeless youth” involves age.
Across the existing literature on homeless youth, the age range has varied widely. In this paper, we will generally use the term “homeless youth” to refer to those between the ages of 12 and 17. However, many studies of homeless youth have also included young adults up to age 24. We will still review studies of youth that also include young adults, but we will note the extended age range involved-(3) The target population for this review is heterogeneous and includes youth described with a variety of terms in research and popular literature (Kennedy et 1990; Robertson, 1996).
These terms include “runaways,” who have left home without parental permission, “throwaways,” who have been forced to leave home by their parents, and “street youth,” who have spent at least some time living on the streets. All studies reviewed here include youth who have spent at least one night literally homeless, regardless of the conditions f separation from their last home.
It is important to note that some homeless youth have experienced long or repeated episodes of homelessness, while others are having their first experience with homelessness or have been homeless only for a few days. To avoid the sort Of terminological confusion common in the existing literature, throughout this paper we will refer to this overall group as “homeless youth. ” However, when referring to specific reports or studies, we may use the language of their authors specifically to identify the subgroup of homeless youth they studied. How Many Homeless Youth Are There?
The methodological problems in estimating the prevalence of homelessness have been widely discussed and debated (Appellate, 1990; Blab, 1992; Burt, 1994, 1998; Callahan, Doeskin, Beanie, Amended, & Mach, 1994; Fascination, 1991; Contrasts, 1991, 1994; Link, Usurers, Stature, Philae, Moore & Strutting, 1994; Robertson, 1991; Rossi, 1989, 1 994; Solar, 1988; Tort & Warren, 1999; Wright, Rubin, & Divine, 1998). Though most Of this debate has involved homeless adults, many of the controversies and methodological problems identified in the literature apply to homeless youth.
Notwithstanding the debates, evidence suggests that the size of the homeless youth population is substantial and widespread . (4) A recent large-scale survey of U. S. Adolescents provides the most comprehensive data to date on the extent of homelessness among youth (Ringlet, Greene, Robertson, and McPherson, 1998). In 1992 and 1993, researchers interviewed a nationally representative household survey of 6,496 youth, ages 12 to 17, as part of the National Health Interview Study (KNISH) sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To assess literal homelessness in the previous 12 months, youth were asked whether they had spent one or more nights in specific types of places. These included: a youth or adult shelter; any of several locations not intended to be dwelling places (I. E. , in a public place such as a train or bus station or restaurant; in an abandoned building; outside in a park, on the street, under a bridge, or on a rooftop; in a subway or other public place underground); or where their safety would be compromised (I. E. With someone they did not know because they needed a place to stay). Based on these estimates, researchers estimated the annual reverence of literal homelessness among this age group to be 7. 6 percent (or 1. 6 million youth in a given year). Even after revising their estimate down, removing youth whose only experience with homelessness was in a “shelter” (a potentially ambiguous term used in the interview), they still estimated that 5 percent had experienced literal homelessness in the previous year (or more than 1 million youth in a given year).
The prevalence of homelessness did not vary significantly by family poverty status (determined by parent’s reported income), geographic area, or stereographic factors other than by gender I. E. , with significantly higher rates of homelessness for males than females). These estimates suggest that adolescents under age 1 8 may be at higher risk for homelessness than adults. In 1990, researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1 507 adults in households with telephones (Link, Usurers, Statue, Philae, Moore, & Strutting, 1994).
To assess literal homelessness, adults were asked if they had ever considered themselves to be homeless. Next they were asked if, while homeless, they had ever slept in a shelter for homeless people or another temporary residence because they id not have a place to stay, or in a park in an abandoned building, in the street, or in a train or bus station. Among those who reported literal homelessness, those who had been homeless within the previous five years were identified. Among US adults, five-year prevalence of self-reported homelessness among those ever literally homeless was estimated at 3. Percent (or 5. 7 million adults in a five-year period) and lifetime prevalence was estimated at 7. 4 percent (or 13. 5 million adults). Other studies report similar lifetime rates (8%; Marquee & Tort, 1994). Geographic Distribution and Patterns Of Homelessness Based on the national survey of housed youth described above, those with a history of recent homelessness were found throughout the nation and across urban, suburban, and rural areas (Ringlet et al. , 1998). Nevertheless, homeless youth appear to be most concentrated and visible in major cities (as is the case for homeless adults and families).
It is hard to determine whether this apparent concentration in urban areas is a function of where researchers are located or a “true” over-representation of homeless youth in urban areas. Street Youth. The research literature documents significant numbers of youth actually living “on the streets” (I. E. , not in shelters), primarily in certain large metropolitan areas on the east and west coasts. While street youth have been studied in areas such as Los Angels, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City and Philadelphia, such youth have rarely been documented in Midwestern and southern communities.
While street youth represent an unknown proportion of all homeless youth, this subgroup is of obvious concern and much research has focused on it. As we will document in this review, street youth generally show the most disturbing histories of life disruptions and personal problems. This subgroup also often has longer histories of homelessness and is less likely to use traditional services. Local Residents. Contrary to popular stereotypes, several older studies show that most homeless youth are in fact “local kids. For example, the majority (72%) of youths served in 17 runaway and homeless youth programs nationally were from the immediate geographical area In which the program was located (van Hooted & Glassblowers, 1978). Most New York City shelter clients were born in the city (Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, 1983; New York State Council on Children and Families, 1984). In Albany, New York, the majority was from Albany or other parts of the Capital District (58%); only about one-quarter were from out of state (Council of Community Services, 1984).
Service providers in Los Angels County reported that the majority of their clients are from within the county (67%) or within the state (18%; Earthman & David, 1985). Even in Hollywood, California, where one might expect a more transient population, three-quarters of a sample of street youth had been residents of the surrounding county for more than a year (Robertson, 1989). Although most homeless youth seem to be local students, many homeless youth (25-42%) are not local. History of Homelessness. History of homelessness seems to vary by whether youth are sampled from shelters or from the streets.
Studies of homeless youth obtained from shelters generally find that most homeless youth have been homeless for relatively short periods of time and have not experienced prior homeless episodes. For example, in a probability sample of 118 adolescents (ages 12-17) from all six major youth shelters in the Detroit metropolitan area, two-thirds had never been homeless before, and most (86%) had been omelets for four weeks or less in their current episode (Macadamias, Tort, & Wolfe, 1998). In contrast, in one Holly.
Need street sample (ages 13 to 1 7), most youth demonstrated patterns of episodic (I. E. , multiple episodes adding up to less than one year; 44%) or chronic homelessness (I. E. , being homeless for one year or longer; 39%) (Greenbelts & Robertson, 1993). Characteristics of Homeless Youth Below, we review these findings and highlight the diversity of the homeless youth population. Background Characteristics Gender and Age. In a national survey of youth (Ringlet et al. , 1 998) males ere significantly more likely than females to report recent homelessness.
In local studies of homeless youth, gender representation seems to vary depending on the source and age of the sample (Robertson, 1996). Samples from shelters suggest either even numbers or more females. In contrast, samples of street youth or older youth tend to include more males. Based on recent studies, the vast majority of homeless youth appear to be age 1 3 or older, although several studies have identified small numbers of youth homeless on their own who are as young as nine (Clark & Robertson, 1 996; Robertson, 1 991 Race or Ethnicity.
A national survey buyouts found no differences in rates of recent homelessness by racial or ethnic group (Ringlet, et al. , 1998). While local studies tend to document that homeless youth generally reflect the racial and ethnic make-up of their local areas, three local studies also report over-representation of members of racial or ethnic minorities relative to the local community.
For example, African Americans were over represented in a probability sample from shelters throughout metropolitan Detroit, where 46 percent of 118 homeless youth were African-American compared to 22 percent in the area’s general population (McCall et al. , 1998). Both African Americans and Native Americans were reported to be over-represented in a street sample from Seattle (N=229; ages 13-21; Sauce et al. , 1 AAA) and a statewide sample from Minnesota (N=165, ages 1 1-17; Owen et al. , 1998). Sexual Orientation.
The rate of gay or bisexual orientation among homeless youth varies across studies. In several studies with shelter and street samples, 3 to 10 percent of youth have reported their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian or bisexual (Greenbelts & Robertson, 1993; Johnson, Achaeans, Barbers, & Agglutinate, 993; Rather-Bores et al. , Bibb; Tort et al. , 1998; Wolfe et al. , 1994). Such rates suggest that homeless youth are no more likely than non-homeless youth to report gay or bisexual orientation when compared to the national rate of about 10 percent (Dempsey, 1994).
However, higher rates of gay or bisexual identity (1 6 to 38%) are reported in another set of studies. (5) The higher rates in these studies (16 to 38%) can be accounted for by samples that came from street or clinical sites; tended to be older; included more men (who generally have higher rates than women for gay or bisexual orientation); r came from areas with significant concentrations of gay or bisexual persons in the larger community. Family Poverty and Youth Homelessness. Youth who experience literal homelessness seem to come from less impoverished backgrounds than homeless adults.
For example, sheltered youth came from significantly better socioeconomic circumstances than the sheltered adults in Detroit (Bouzoukis & Tort, 1996). In a representative national sample of youth (ages 12 to 17), those living with families in poverty were not more likely than other youth to have experienced homelessness in the previous year (Ringlet t Bibb). In contrast, among adults in a representative national sample, those with lower socioeconomic status (SEES) were more likely to experience homelessness in the previous five years (I. E. Lower SEES was defined by less than high school education; history of public assistance; or current annual income of $20,000 or less) (Link et al. , 1994). Some state and local studies suggest that disproportionate numbers of homeless youth may come from lower-income or working-class families and neighborhoods. For instance, for a broad four-state Midwestern sample Of 602 homeless youth, two-thirds Of he youths’ parents (68%) reported family incomes under $35,000 (ages 12-22, obtained from shelters, street sites, and drop-in centers in urban, rural and suburban areas) (Whitlock et al. Bibb). In a Detroit shelter, most youth (69%) came from families in which the parents held unskilled or blue-collar jobs (McCall et al. , 1998). Most youth also (80%) came from neighborhoods where the median family income was under $40,000 (which was the approximate 1990 median family income for the total Detroit metropolitan area). A more recent study in Detroit, with a broader probability sample of 76 homeless youth (ages 13-17), obtained similar findings (Tort et al. , 1998). 6) The profile of homeless youth observed in the literature is highly dependent on the source of the sample (as observed for homeless adults by Link and colleagues, 1994). Findings suggest that while family poverty may not be related to homelessness among youth per SE (given findings from the national household survey), family poverty may be related to more chronic or repeated homelessness (given recent local cross-sectional studies). Household surveys of formerly homeless youth may be more useful for eating lower-bound estimates of the extent of homelessness among youth within a given period of time.
Such household surveys also likely present a more complete picture of the larger homeless youth population and of factors that put a youth at risk for homelessness. Due to the method used, they was under-represent youth with longer histories of homelessness or institutional stays. On the other hand, the profile of currently homeless youth from studies with cross-sectional samples is a “snap-shot” of homeless youth on a given day, a population which likely over-represents youth with more heroic histories of homelessness.