Monarch has, in other posts, written about the common reasons why youth become homeless – they age out of foster care, get kicked out of their homes for being pregnant or gay and often have to resort to couch surfing. They survive by being invisible to so are difficult to count.
Kevin Ryan and Tina Kelley, the author of the article as well as Almost Home, write,
“With the right amount of political will, we can reduce youth homelessness, while saving society significant money. We have the tools available to keep kids off the streets, in safe families; we just need more people to join the movement to protect vulnerable young people.”
The call upon the candidates to:
Fight human trafficking and youth prostitution,
Fund mental health and substance abuse programs that are convenient to and appropriate for the youth population,
Create tailored education programs to ensure that homeless youth finish high school;
Provide parenting support for young mothers and fathers;
Offer family acceptance programs for families with LGBTQ children;
Provide mentoring; and
Create private-public partnerships that can implement innovations such as using foreclosed and abandoned properties for youth aging out of the foster care system.
The authors conclude,
“A combination of the above strategies could make a huge dent in the number of young people who face each night with no place safe to sleep. But kids don’t vote – they need our voices. In the upcoming campaigns for governor, voters need to demand that candidates address these issues. Our state, and our young people, deserve nothing less.”