4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year

Experts Say that More Emphasis Needed on Tailored Housing, Prevention and Culturally Sensitive and Tailored Services for Homelessness Among Youth

On November 15, 2017, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that a “New Study Finds That 4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year.”

A new study from Chapin Hall an independent policy research center at the University of Chicago found reported on the 4.2 million number and that.

“One in 30 teens experience some type of homelessness and it’s more common the older you get: one in 10 for young people aged 18 to 25. The study also found that African American youth are 82 percent more likely to experience homelessness.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that Nevada is the state with the highest rate of youth homelessness.

“Young people often end up homeless because of family breakdown, abuse or abandonment and it’s a problem that isn’t properly addressed, says Arash Ghafoori, the executive director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.”

Natalie is one of the homeless youth profiled in the report. “At age 14 in a small town in Washington State, Natalie’s experience with homelessness began. Natalie’s dad left her family, and her mom fell into depression and started using methamphetamine. “[I]f she wasn’t drunk or high, she was gone,” Natalie noted in one part of Voices of Youth Count’s research efforts.

For the next six months, Natalie cared for her four younger siblings. She started to miss school and ultimately dropped out. The stress of her circumstance mounted. Through friends, she encountered meth, a drug that had become tragically common in her community. She started using. This only added to conflict with her mom, and, after a fight with her mom’s new boyfriend, Natalie was kicked out.”

The LGBQT community is often hardest hit by homelessness. “They are 120 percent more likely to experience youth homelessness than other people, according to the new report.”

“We really need to dial back and focus more on prevention,” he says. “There’s certain subsets of homeless youth that really require culturally sensitive and specifically tailored services.”

4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each YearMany youth experiencing homelessness miss the opportunity to earn their high school diplomas. How can homeless youth be prepared to be part of the community without a high school diploma and, also the life skills needed to get and keep a job. The report focuses on the theme of “missed opportunities” experienced by homeless youth.

Schools often see homelessness first. “It’s important for schools to be the one stable place for kids, where they can keep their friends and teachers, Stamp says. Jeanne Stamp directs the Texas Homeless Education Office

“Children who move around a lot or live in poverty tend to not do well academically,” she says. “That instability really undermines their ability to learn.”

Similar results were identified in a recent study in NJ – Over 9% of Covenant House Youth Experience Both Sexual and Labor Exploitation

Among the report’s recommendations are:

  • Conduct national estimates of youth homelessness biennially to track our progress in ending youth homelessness.
  • Fund housing interventions, services, and prevention efforts in accordance with the scale of youth homelessness, accounting for different needs.
  • Encourage assessment and service delivery decisions that are responsive to the diversity and fluidity of circumstances among youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Build prevention efforts in systems where youth likely to experience homelessness are in our care: child welfare, juvenile justice, and education.
  • Acknowledge unique developmental and housing needs for a young population, and adapt services to meet those needs.
  • Develop strategies to address the disproportionate risk for homelessness among specific sub-populations, including pregnant and parenting, LGBT, African American and Hispanic youth, and young people without high school diplomas.

NPR Report

Voices of Youth Count Report

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