Presentation on theme: "HOMELESS YOUTH Submitted by Catherine Uphoff, Graduate Assistant Coordinator of Student Life, Lincoln College-Normal."— Presentation transcript:
HOMELESS YOUTH Submitted by Catherine Uphoff, Graduate Assistant Coordinator of Student Life, Lincoln College-Normal
DEFINITIONS AND DIMENSIONS Homeless youth are individuals under the age of eighteen who lack parental, foster, or institutional care. These young people are sometimes referred to as "unaccompanied" youth. The number of the homeless youth is estimated by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the US Department of Justice. Their most recent study, published in 2002, reported there are an estimated 1,682,900 homeless and runaway youth. This number is equally divided among males and females, and the majority of them are between the ages of 15 and 17 (Molino, 2007).
According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, unaccompanied youth account for 3% of the urban homeless population, (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). According to the National Network of Runaway and Youth Services, six percent of homeless youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) (Molino, 2007). Ten percent of homeless youth were recorded as pregnant (Greene & Ringwalt, 1998).
Over the course of a year, approximately 26,000 youth in Illinois, and 15,000 youth in Chicago, experience homelessness. Homeless youth are between the ages of 13 and 21 and primarily have left home or been kicked out because of serious family problems. Abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), substance abuse by a parent, absence of a parent, and long-term family economic problems are all common experiences among these youth. Pregnant and parenting teens, former and current wards, and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning (LGBTQ) are a disproportionately high segment of the population. Available housing resources for homeless youth do not come close to meeting the need for these services. There are only 212 state shelter beds designated for homeless youth, and 119 beds in the entire city of Chicago. A Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) survey found that 42 percent of youth seeking shelter from state- funded programs for homeless youth were turned away in 2000 because of a lack of resources.
While they are trying to gain stability, jobs and housing, homeless youth are often vulnerable to further abuse: A CCH survey of 200 homeless youth, Alone After Dark, found that 33% of the youth had been physically attacked, 20% had been raped or sexually assaulted after leaving home, and 12% had engaged in prostitution. Lakeview has long been a gathering place for many of these youth from around the city and the Midwest. Often, youth feel they can find acceptance here for their sexual identity; they also create families among themselves here as a way to protect themselves and find emotional support. Unfortunately, the youths relationship with the police is often strained, and many homeless and LGBT youth and youth of color are often the targets of harassment or abuse from officers. Through the Lakeview Action Coalition, a network of congregations and non- profits are collaborating with the police department and 44 th Ward Alderman Tunney on how to increase referrals from police officers to youth for services and how to ensure that youths and all people of our communitys human rights are respected.
Where to find more information: www.lakeviewaction.org - Information on how the Lakeview community is responding to this situation and how you can get involved www.thenightministry.org - Not-for-profit with comprehensive programming for homeless youth in our area www.impactresearch.org (click on publications) – a new survey of 400 homeless youth including recommendations for action · www.chicagohomeless.org - website for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless