Homeless Youth Unaccompanied by a Caretaker
Here are some groupings of homeless youth that have alliances to help them advocate for themselves.
- There are immigrant youth who have entered this country with parent(s) or by themselves in search of their parent(s). Many of these young people have studied hard and achieved success in school only to find that they cannot continue their education or get a job. President Obama has helped this group by allowing them to get a green card and work. In some states they can pay in state tuition to obtain higher education. There may be 500,000 to 1 million of these youth in this country.
- There are many homeless youth who have aged out of foster care without adequate job training or without income to pay for housing. These young people suffer in much the same way.
- LGBTQ youth represent a large proportion of homeless youth — perhaps more than 25% even though they are only 5% or 10% of the general youth population. These young people face great danger on the street. They report leaving home due to conflicts with family members around their sexual orientation or gender expression.
- There are many homeless youth with mental health challenges, some have treatment and others have none.
- Homeless young people aged 18 — 24 have the highest rate of unemployment as described in a NYT article 12/12/2012.
How to we change this situation? We need more affordable housing to stabilize family life, more day programs for homeless teens and those with mental health problems and more appropriate services.
These organizations provide support for homeless youth, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Immigrant Youth Alliance, and Youth after Foster Care.