Teen Homelessness in America
Dr. Alicia Adkins
September 29, 2013
Evidence has shown that teen homeless across America is ongoing and impacts youth of all cultures and backgrounds. There are millions of youth that are homeless in the United States. The typical ages of homeless youth are eighteen and younger. In America the average youth becomes homeless by age fourteen (www.safehorizon.com). Youth can become homeless for a number of reasons e.g. finances, verbal and physical abuse, pregnancy, sexual orientation, mental illness and neglect. Many youth and young adults have also become homeless due to aging out of foster care services. Youth exiting the foster care and juvenile penal system aren’t effectively linked to services to prevent homelessness. “Surveys of service providers and homeless populations suggest that young people exiting foster care have difficulty securing stable housing,” (Fowler, Toro, & Miles, pg. 1453, 2009). Homelessness is often frowned upon and observed as an individual issue; however, this is the society’s issue, affecting everyone. Research has shown that joining together with a common goal in mind can produce promising results, so why not teen homelessness? “Through strategic collaborations between the nonprofit, private, and public sectors, it is possible to develop more innovative approaches to housing homeless youth,” (Van Leeuwen, pg. 466, 2003). Envisioned for this work, the writer will provide evidence from empirical articles on teen homeless and its effects as they directly impact our country.
Teen homelessness happens to affect all people of different nations, ages, states, and cultures. Teen homelessness and homelessness can be defined in several different ways. The homeless and runaway act of 1974 (RHYA) described homeless youth as one who is no older than 21 and is unaccompanied by a family member or caregiver. According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a youth is considered homeless by way of four classifications. “Persons and relatives who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; persons and relatives who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence; unaccompanied youth and families with youth who are defined as homeless under other federal statutes; and youth and families who are fleeing, or are attempting to flee, domestic violence” (www.hud.gov, 9/27/13).
Research has shown that homelessness is often viewed as an individual problem rather than a community issue. Homeless youth have been referred to by many names throwaway youth, runaway youth, street youth and systems youth. A throwaway youth is an individual that has been asked or forced to leave the home by parents of caregivers with no alternative care in place. A runaway youth is an individual who has left the home against parent or caregivers permission and has stay away for more than one night. Street youth are those that have spent significant time out on the streets without parents. Lastly there are system youth those that have aged out of the foster care or departing the justice system (www.findyouthinfo.gov, 9/27/13). Contrary to belief there are over 1.7 million homeless teens in the United States of America (www.safehorizion.org, 9/28/13). Research has shown that a great number of homeless youth are eighteen and younger. One should observe that while on the street many youth endure all types of traumatic abuse resulting in the need to escape its harsh reality. Majority of destitute teens turn to street drugs and alcohol in hopes of dulling the pain experienced (self-medicating). Many homeless adults were once homeless youth who failed to receive proper care. Teens are more likely to become homeless adults in the coming years. Research has shown that more than half the population of homeless teens have been...
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