Presentation on theme: "RYSE A Street-based Survey of homeless youth & young adults in Boston Alice Rouse, MPH Starlight Ministries: RYSE initiative Boston, MA."— Presentation transcript:
RYSE A Street-based Survey of homeless youth & young adults in Boston Alice Rouse, MPH Starlight Ministries: RYSE initiative Boston, MA
R Y S E R Y S E Reaching Youth on the Streets RYSE is an initiative of Starlight Ministries dedicated to serving the needs of youth and young adults in Boston, MA ages 14-24, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
R Y S E R Y S E Reaching Youth on the Streets RYSE is one of only two programs with paid outreach workers in Boston, MA targeting homeless youth and young adults, and the only program to offer outreach to youth on Saturdays.
Definitions The US Department of Health and Human Services classifies homeless youth as: Minors who have experienced literal homelessness on their owni.e., who have spent at least one night either in a shelter or on the streets without adult supervision … the term is also used to describe homeless young adults up to age 24. Robertson, M.J., Toro, P.A. (1999). Homeless Youth: Research, Intervention, and Policy. US Department of Health and Human Services: The 1998 National Symposium on Homelessness Research.
Homeless Youth: the looming number The USDHHS estimates the annual prevalence of homelessness to be 5-8% for youth 12 to 17 years of age. This amounts to over 1 million youth on the streets of the USA every year. Robertson, M.J., Toro, P.A. (1999). Homeless Youth: Research, Intervention, and Policy. US Department of Health and Human Services: The 1998 National Symposium on Homelessness Research.
Homeless Youth: the looming number In Massachusetts there was a 238% increase in homelessness among young adults from 1997 to 2003, with most of these youth residing in Boston. Source: Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance 2003 Young Adult Census Summary
Cultural Characteristics Many service providers label street youth as having too many issues to deal with. It is important to look briefly at the common characteristics of youth on the streets to see what has led to this belief.
Cultural Characteristics Lack of support systems Lack of trust for others, especially adults Use of addictive substances A history of abuse Mental Illness Sense of failure; low self esteem Sexuality Issues Street Addiction
Cultural Characteristics Homeless youth are at elevated risk for physical and mental health problems. Abdlain, Sue Ellen MD, (2004) Street Youth Mortality: Leaning With Intent to Fall. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 292(5): 624-626. Cauce, Ana Mari, et al, (2000) The Characteristics and Mental Health of Homeless Adolescents: Age and Gender Differences. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 8(4): 230-246. McCaskill, P. A., Toro, P. A., & Wolfe, S. M. (1998). Homeless and Matched Housed Adolescents: A Comparative Study of Psychopathology. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27: 306-319. National Runaway Switchboard [Homepage on the Internet] Updated 2004; Cited 11/26/04; Available from: www.nrlcrisisline.org Ringwalt, C. L., Greene, J. M., Robertson, M. & McPheeters, M. (1998). The Prevalence of Homelessness Among Adolescents in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 88(9): 1325-1329. Robertson, M.J., Toro, P.A. (1999). Homeless Youth: Research, Intervention, and Policy. US Department of Health and Human Services: The 1998 National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Roy E, Haley N, Lecelerc P, et al (2004) Mortality in a Cohort of Street Youth in Montreal. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 292(5): 569-574.
Purpose: To explore homeless and street-involved youths histories of homelessness, substance abuse, service utilization and experience with social service agencies.
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Methodology 82 youth (between 14 and 24 years old) who were homeless or on the streets (at-risk of homelessness) were surveyed at street sites. Outreach workers delivered an oral questionnaire to these youth asking questions about their histories of homelessness, substance abuse, service utilization, and experience with social service agencies, amongst other items.
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Demographics TOTAL: 82 youth participated Gender: 35 Male 47 Female Age: Average age 19.1 [14-24] Ethnicity: (49) Caucasian, (12) African American, (9)Hispanic, (6) Native American, (0) Asian, (5)Other, (6) multi-racial
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Demographics 40% of all youth admitted involvement with the Department of Social Services 23% of all youth admitted involvement with the Dept. of Youth Services (correctional) 25% of respondents had children; 2 youth were pregnant
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Sleeping on Sofas & Sidewalks 70% of respondents had experienced homelessness in the past year 47% of youth who were homeless had been homeless for more than one year
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Sleeping on Sofas & Sidewalks Check all of the following places in which you have slept for at least one night over the past year? N=80 Friends House= 83% Public Place (doorway, park, ATM booth)= 46% Strangers House= 29% Car= 29% Abandoned building =24% Shelters= 22%
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Sleeping on Sofas & Sidewalks Where did you sleep most nights in the past month? N=80 Friends House= 26% Public Place (doorway, park, ATM) =25% Abandoned Building = 8% Shelters= 8% Strangers House= 7% Other = 9%
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: DRUGS In the past month: 91% used alcohol 87% marijuana 40% cocaine 27% inhalants 24% crack cocaine 20% heroin
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: DRUGS By ethnicity: Alcohol, marijuana, and heroin use statistically similar across all ethnic groups Caucasian youth were more likely to use inhalants than all other ethnic groups Latino and Caucasian youth more likely to use cocaine African American youth twice as likely to use crack cocaine, compared to Caucasian and Latino youth
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: DRUGS Ethnic identity was not a significant predictor of substance abuse, but was a significant predictor for type of substance use Length of time homeless was not associated with higher rates of substance abuse However, homelessness itself was a significant predictor of current drug use, as compared to street-youth who were not currently homeless
Comparison of Drug Use in Past 30-days, High School Students & Homeless Youth, Boston 2004 Data Source: YRBS, Mass DOE, Boston Public Health Commission, RYSE 2004 Street Survey
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Services Wanted/Needed Educational Assistance (55%) Job training (40%) Permanent Housing Assistance (27%) Healthcare (25%) Basic help- food, clothing, etc. (20%) Recreational Activities –art, music, sports, etc. (19%) Mental Health services (12%)
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Services Used This population, as opposed to a shelter or clinic- based sample, reported alarmingly high risk behavior rates but low rates of service utilization: Outreach vans (47%) Drop in centers (22%) Healthcare (15%) Mental Health Services (8%) Educational assistance (3%) Job training (2%) AA/12-step, sober house, detox (all 2%)
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Services Used Females were 1.8 times more likely than males to report using services
RYSEs 2004 Survey of Street Youth: Barriers to Services Barriers, both real and perceived, to accessing services discourage homeless youth from receiving care for many basic needs. no money and where do I go? frequently listed as barriers to using services and programs Objective barriers to health care are compounded with homeless youths relative isolation.
What would you like to be doing 5 years from now? … 5 years is a long time to stay alive -19 year old male
Suggestions for effectively serving this hard-to-reach population Be persistent with the boys Females were 1.8 times more likely than males to report using services If they wont come to you, go to them (47% reported using outreach vans…) Expressed needs may radically differ from a youths most urgent needs (education & job assistance ranked as top needs, whereas sobriety and mental health care ranked near the bottom)