Fighting for a Place to Call Home

The Silent Epidemic of Youth Homelessness

Fighting for a Place to Call HomeIn October Philadelphia NBC 10 TV highlighted the lives of homeless youth in Philadelphia.

Seventeen-year-old Zinqueece, who goes by Que, spoke about his experience last winter of living on the street and attending classes,

“You ever feel alone? Like nobody’s there with you, or for you? I hate that feeling. I hate being alone, I really do.”

Que says now about the winter he spent living on the street.

Youth can find themselves homeless after a medical crisis in their family, a fight with parents or guardians, as a result of abuse or rejection, or aging out of the foster care system.

Covenant House Pennsylvania is working to end youth homelessness and operates a shelter for youth ages 18-21 in Germantown.

“I don’t think kids are just running away for the sake of running away.”

Said Amy Dworsky, a University of Chicago research fellow who studies youth homelessness.

On a night in January 2014, a count found nearly 200,000 homeless youth up to age 24 across America, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” But this is mostly likely an undercount since homeless youth often survive by “blending in” and are difficult to count. Many homeless youth attend school or work every day without their fellow students or workers realizing the serious of the program.

“The stories of more than a dozen currently and formerly homeless youth in Philadelphia who shared their experiences, struggles and triumphs with NBC10 reveal that homelessness spans races, neighborhoods and socioeconomic lines. What they all have in common is they’ve experienced unthinkable trauma, pain and heartbreak in their young lives. Many are able to bounce back.”

“At Covenant House Pennsylvania, for example, Executive Director John Ducoff says in an average year the shelter will help 500 youth, but turn away roughly 400.” Of those that Covenant House is able to help, some formerly homeless youth are able to move into transitional housing.

And in this very in depth story, there are stories of hope.

“Kadeem, the former football player, is working as a security guard full-time and applied to become a Philadelphia firefighter.

He offered a word of advice for other young people who are struggling:
‘My dad always used to tell me, ‘Because you have a nightmare doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming,’ Kadeem said. “I would tell everybody that. Keep dreaming.’”

Click here for the full news story.

Click here to follow #HomelessYouth on Twitter.