Teen Challenge – Teen Homelessness

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

Hello, it is me Sharon from Mentoring A Dream. Have you checked in with your teen this week? You could ask them about how school is going or how they are feeling about things. Reaching out to them with a simple question is a great way to engage and show interest in them.


With November being Teen Homelessness Awareness Month, for this week’s blog, I will focus on a growing issue that does affect teenagers, homelessness. When I was thinking of homelessness, I was thinking it was the families who were homeless, which is a problem, but what we are bringing up this month is the teens and young adults who are homeless and out on their own.


Did you know that one in 10 young adults ages 18-25, and at least one in 30 adolescents ages 13-17, experience some form of homelessness unaccompanied by a parent or guardian over the course of a year? This is just one statistic that peaked my interest to look further into this teen challenge.


Teen Homelessness

In the United States, a homeless youth is someone who is under the age of 21 and is unable to safely live with a relative, and has no other safe alternative living arrangement.


Youth homelessness is more common than you might think and doesn’t always mean young people living on the streets or in shelters. Homelessness also includes couch surfing or staying with friends or relatives, which is a temporary answer to what may be a long-term issue.


According to a study on youth homelessness done by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, their Voices of Youth Count (PDF) reveals “a scenario of American youth homelessness in which a shifting population of young people uses temporary situations to get by when they cannot stay in a home of their own.”


Having a specific definition is important for federal funding and who can receive support from federally funded programs. Sometimes programs have a different definition of who is a homeless youth and whether they qualify for support or not. This has resulted in the actual number of homeless youth being undercounted and more restrictive definitions have resulted in less shelter, housing and supportive services for this growing number of homeless people.


So, why do teens become homeless in the first place?


Photo by Zac Durant via Unsplash

Why do young teens and young adults become homeless?

According to the National Network for Youth, the vast majority of youth do not become homeless by choice. For most youths, instability in their current living situation forces them out on the streets before they are adults. The following family experiences can lead to a youth finding themselves homeless

  • child abuse and or neglect

  • domestic violence

  • parental substance abuse

  • family conflict

Sometimes, teens or young adults are asked to leave their homes because of something they may or may not be doing. Maybe it is because they aren't respecting their parents or using drugs after being asked to stop.


The reasons for teen homelessness can be caused by both parents and teens and is typically not a one sided issue. The causes for them to become homeless are sometimes not easy problems to solve, take hard work on both sides, and maybe need outside intervention to work out. It may seem like leaving home is the only option, but it may not be.


Youth homelessness includes many types of teens

Homeless teens come from many walks of life and become homeless for many reasons. Some of the teens who experience homelessness are

  • dealing with having a sexual preference that their parents cannot accept

  • becoming pregnant

  • running away from home because of an issue that their parent is having with addiction

  • they have been asked to leave because of not respecting their parents.

  • are being human trafficked

Photo by Ev via Unsplash

Changes in how our society is has also led to some of these situations being created. Like being more public about your sexual preference, thinking that being on the street is better than dealing with a bad situation at home, or being pulled away from your home against your will to be turned to prostitution or human trafficked. Many of the teens who find themselves dealing with these issues will need help to get their lives on track and become successful.


What can be done to deal with Teen and Youth Homelessness?

So, what can be done to end their homelessness? Youth and young adults need stable housing, supportive connections to caring adults, and access to mainstream services that will place them on a path to long-term success. Reunifying youth with family or a support system, when safe and appropriate, should be at the core of any approach.


We need to make these services available to the teens who need them and not get caught up in definitions of who qualifies and who doesn't. All teens should have a chance to be successful and should be able to have access to help to get there.


But like some of the other issues that teens face, open communication with their parents and caring adults could go a long way to reducing the numbers of teens who are homeless in the first place. But, both teens and adults in these cases must be open to listening to each other, make compromises and seek outside intervention where appropriate,


The Street's Way is coming in 2023

Do you know about The Way Series? It is a series of coming of age novels for teens and young adults about the challenges they face. The Street's Way is the third book in The Way Series due to be published in late 2023. This is a continuation of the story put forth in books one and two, but also introduces a character who is running away from home to get away from a bad situation.


The eBook versions of The Hard Way and Shawn's Way will be on sale for $.99 each on Cyber Monday, November 28-30. Be sure to get your copies at that low price now, so you will have time to catch up on the backstory to be ready for The Street's Way.


Follow this link to my books tab to learn more about the series and to pick up your copies!


Selma's Books.


Have a great week!