Physical, emotional and sexual abuse are the prominent reasons for teenage homelessness. Every youth living on the streets has a heart breaking story to tell. It could be an alcoholic dad, narcotic friends, rejection by parents, heart breaks or lack of emotional support.
Underlying main cause of teenage homelessness is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from parents or guardians.
DEFINITION OF YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
Youth aged 12 and older up to 24 years, without any family support fall into the category of Homeless Youth. They could be living on the streets, shelters, cars , and vacant buildings.
STATISTICS AND DEMOGRAPHICS
Studies done at “National Conference of State Legislatures” have shown that:
- One in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away
- 75 percent of runaways are female
- Estimates of the number of pregnant homeless girls are between 6 and 22 percent
- Between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning (GLBTQ)
- 75 percent of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school
REASONS FOR GROWING NUMBERS OF YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
One of the biggest patrons of teen homelessness is family issues. Some families reject their children on a basis of their sexual orientation or early pregnancy.
Teen pregnancy, family conflicts, substance abuse and difficulties at school can all lead to a child running away from the home. Youths who do not have access to proper education or jobs face economic problems and fall for other vices to heal themselves.
Transition from Foster Cares and other public institutions
Almost half of the adolescents aging out of foster care face homelessness within few months. They have limited education, zero emotional support and no life skills to survive the real world.
One of the leading causes of youth homelessness continues to be substance addiction. Young children get access to drugs and alcohols through friends in the school which leads to addiction.
Exploitation and Violence
About 25% of homeless children have faced physical and emotional exploitation and violence from the parents.
CONSEQUENCES OF LIFE ON THE STREETS FOR HOMELESS AND RUN-AWAY YOUTH
Severe anxiety and depression
Children and youth face the repercussion of severe anxiety and depression as they lack emotional and social support from parents, guardians, and peers.
Most of the young homeless exchange sex for food and a secure place to sleep.
Difficulty attending schools
Lack of financial support makes it exceedingly challenging for young homeless students to continue their education.
Lack of employability
As the young kids were unable to complete their education, homelessness at such an unexpected age contributes to the challenge of being unemployable.
Lack of access to health care
The youth living on the streets do not have access to health care and medications which makes them more sensitive to diseases and illnesses.
PREVENTING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
Intervention at a premature stage can aid in preventing homelessness. We can keep an eye on our neighbors, friends and family members who are exploiting or abusing their children. We can save families from disintegrating and children becoming destitute.
Here are the ways to prevent Youth Homelessness:
Strengthening Family Relationships
A loving home is less likely to have run-away kids. We can all work a portion towards our moral valuations and learn how to connect with teenage kids.
The government should constantly work towards strengthening the righteousness of its nationals through numerous procedures.
Comprehensive transition planning from foster care to real world
A distinct majority of children face homelessness within six months of the transition from a foster care into the real world. Without any economic, moral, or emotional supoport, they have a hard time in survival.
Ensuring education and employment opportunities
The greatest challenge youth face as homeless is a lack of ability of continue education or find a job. They are unemployable as they lack education and skills.
Mobilizing all philanthropic efforts through public, private, and non-profit sectors can impact youth homelessness.