Voices of Youth Count brief youth surveys further documented that young people who have been in child welfare or justice systems, or lack a high school diploma, are at especially high risk of homelessness. Natalie found herself regularly returning to juvenile detention—where she says she was grateful for a bed to sleep in and respites of safety. All of these experiences can expose youth to risks and can be warning signs of future homelessness. As a country, we need tailored strategies to reach all of these young people. There are no silver bullets, but the efforts and investments to end youth homelessness are worth it—for Natalie, for the millions of youth who share her struggle, and for our country, which stands to gain from helping all of our young people achieve their full potential. The prevalence climbs even higher when looking at homelessness among young adults ages We use household prevalence to calculate a minimum number of adolescent minors who experienced homelessness in the US. National Estimates summarizes the results of the Voices of Youth Count national survey that estimates the percentage of United States youth, ages 13 to 25, who have experienced unaccompanied homelessness at least once during a recent month period. Voices of Youth Count will bring forward more evidence in the months to come.
To exit homelessness permanently, youth require housing and support services tailored to their unique developmental needs. Youth homelessness affects rural youth at similar levels Before Voices of Youth Count, little was known about the degree of youth homelessness in rural areas compared to urban areas. Because this survey was administered to adults ages 18 and over , we could directly estimate only household prevalence for the age group. The problem is solvable, but much remains to be done. Yet many youth self-organize temporary housing through informal networks—such as couch surfing with a friend or relative—that is safe, if unstable. Download Key to understanding these estimates is the fact that young people—like Natalie—often shift among temporary circumstances such as living on the streets and couch surfing in unstable locations. However, this upward trend is consistent with broader public health research that shows increased levels of vulnerability during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. About half of them involved explicitly reported homelessness while the other half involved couch surfing only. Although many factors drive youth from their homes, including economic hardship, conflict, abuse, and neglect, the young people thrust into this situation share difficulty and uncertainty. However, despite important national actions—and many efforts at the state and community levels—a sizable percentage of American youth continues to experience homelessness. Rural areas face unique challenges given that youth homelessness is spread across a larger space with greater hiddenness and more limited services infrastructure. Moving Toward Solutions Until now, one major challenge to putting solutions in place has been the lack of credible data on the size and characteristics of the youth population who experience homelessness and a way to track how this population changes over time. In other cases, it involves ensuring that young people have access to other long-term, low-barrier housing options. Put simply, the problem is not that these young people are not working. Public systems can and do have an impact. Results show that approximately one in 10 American young adults ages 18 to 25, and at least one in 30 adolescent minors ages 13 to 17, endures some form of homelessness. Young parents—especially those unmarried—had three times the risk of experiencing homelessness compared to non-parenting peers. For still others, situations are temporary and nonrecurring during the year, and these experiences and circumstances likewise require different responses. These insights from in-depth interviews reinforce the extent to which early actions to address risks and boost youth resilience can help curb the trajectories of young people into homelessness. No one system along can address the multiple needs of these vulnerable young people. Every experience, every youth, was unique. Point-in-time counts have also shown lower percentages of Hispanic youth overall among those identified as homeless, especially those in shelters. For example, according to data collected by the U. Homelessness spaces and services supported by federal funding need to be safe and specific to adolescents and young adults and appropriate for the youth subpopulations who need to access them. Look for Research-to-Impact briefs related to trajectories into homelessness, the dynamics between interactions with systems like child welfare and youth homelessness, synthesis of the evidence regarding interventions to address youth homelessness, and deep explorations of the experiences faced by specific subgroups of young people. Voices of Youth Count Through multiple methods and research angles, Voices of Youth Count sought to capture and understand the voices and experiences of thousands of young people like Natalie.
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