Columnist Draws Attention to Plight of Homeless Youth

Where do 18-21 Year Olds with No Family Go?

Where do 18-21 Year Olds with No Family GoOn April 30, Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak explores where young adults, between ages 18-21, facing today’s poor job market and housing crisis turn when they have not family support.

Quoting from her column:

“It’s the myth of 18,” said Daniel Brannen, executive director of Covenant House Washington, which focuses on housing and helping this group of young adults. “It’s been a myth in America for a long time that when you hit 18, you’re on your own, you’re an adult, you can make it.”

Sadly, many of these youth are not able to pursue their dreams of college and instead are lucky to settle for low wage paying jobs and end up living in shelters or “couch surfing” staying briefly with different friends and family. Often the support of a stable, older adult would make the difference but in absence of that, they need affordable housing and services.

Covenant House in Washington, D.C., will soon release a report focusing on this population which found that:

  • The majority were unemployed and had their own children
  • About 1/3 have a mental illness diagnosis, and
  • Very tragically, more than ½ reported experiencing physical or sexual abuse.

We must continue to push for funding for supportive housing targeted towards this population along with other policy solutions. It would be a great injustice to leave this segment of our young adult population behind and with no hope for the future.

Click here to read Dvorak’s column.