It may be difficult to imagine a youth experiencing homelessness but there are more than four million youth and young adults in America each year and, according to the most recently available statistics, in North Carolina 26,613 public school students were identified as homeless and 3.9 percent of children under age six experience homelessness.
Causes Of Youth Homelessness
For many of us, it’s unthinkable to imagine a child or young adult homeless at such a young and important stage in life. However, it’s a problem that cannot be ignored. While every situation is different, experts have found five main contributing factors to youth homelessness:
- Lack of affordable housing
- Domestic violence
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
Additionally, youth in the LGBTQ community are twice as likely to end up homeless, according to experts, because of family dynamics that may force them to leave their homes. Members of this community which, according to research, represent approximately 20 to 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness, are also much more likely to experience violence than their cisgender or heterosexual peers.
For many of today’s homeless youth, reaching out for help is a terrifying concept. Particularly for those who have been ostracized by their families or who have spent most of their lives in ‘the system’. Statistics show that 20 percent of kids who turn 18 while in foster care, will instantly become homeless.
It is difficult for them to trust anyone, so they will often end up victims of violence, substance abuse, or tragedy simply because they feel they are alone. That’s why it falls on organizations and communities to pull together to engage these at-risk youth with healthy, supportive, and safe options so they can develop into healthy adults with supportive relationships.
How to Help
Youth Focus has grown to offer a variety of services and housing options for today’s homeless and at-risk youth. We are proud to serve the families and youth of Guilford County and make a difference in their lives with the services we provide.
If you would like to be a part of the positive changes we are making, we invite you to donate today or contact us today to find out more about our programs and services and ways you may be able to volunteer.