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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Young adults are the fastest growing population of homeless people in the United States.
In fact, according to the U. S Department of Education, there were nearly 1.3 million homeless children and teens enrolled in elementary, middle and high school during the 2012-13 year.
But what exactly is a homeless teenager? Many people believe that ‘homeless’ is a word used to describe men and women who live under bridges or hold cardboard signs pleading for money, but it is much broader than that perception.
The term homeless is used to describe a living condition in which there is lack of a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. Most of these kids go to school, have friends and are part of their school’s sports team—but at night they have no place to call home. For some teens, this is a struggle shared with the family due to lack of income and other resources. For others, however, this is a choice that was made for them.
San Francisco State University has conducted research that confirms that an estimated 40 percent of the homeless youth population is on the streets for coming out to their parents about their sexuality, which means that between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless people are homeless LGBT youths. This can be due to the fact that now more kids are coming out in their early to late teens instead of a post-college age. What’s more disheartening is that these are just a few of the many reasons why the homeless teen population is growing in size—but what can we do to help?
Helpingfeelsgoood.org, a Neighbors 4 Neighbors initiative, has kicked off a Faces of Homeless Campaign to bring awareness to the different variations of the homeless youth community. Many people are not aware that this population comes from all backgrounds, cultures, and socio-economic conditions.
Covenant House Florida, one of our many non-profit partners, is an organization that offers shelter and services to children and youth who are, or are at great risk of, becoming homeless. With their help, and the help of our community partner Wells Fargo, we are hoping to have a campaign that focuses on the youth and gives them resources to overcome their lack of a stable home.
The first 24 to 48 hours are significant hours to get a reach those teens. After that time frame, they begin to consider prostitution, drugs, stealing or any other method to survive, so it’s important to give them a healthier alternative.
Helpingfeelsgood.org connects agencies and volunteers to find a match close to home where they are willing and able to provide their services.
The website allows you to take part in our campaign and tackle this social issue before it becomes a social epidemic.
For more information or to make a donation, please visit the website www.HelpingFeelsGood.org
Be part of a solution because helping really does feel good.
Neighbors 4 Neighbors is generously supported by, Wells Fargo, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, CBS4 & My33, and the Herbert Hoover Foundation.