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Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week and Youth Homelessness

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Awareness, Uncategorized

Why you should think about youth homelessness this Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week by Deirdre Walsh, NCH Intern

Youth homelessness is this year’s central theme for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. While the issues associated with living in poverty are difficult for all, homeless youths encounter unique obstacles when trying to secure housing, employment, health care, and emergency services. Discrimination and a lack of opportunities put American youths at great risk to be on the streets without access to shelter, appropriate resources, and protection. The National Campaign for Youth Shelter seeks to provide all young people, ages 24 and under with immediate access to safe shelter, affirming the principles that no young person in the United States should be left homeless in the streets. This commitment calls attention to the causes of youth homelessness and its troublesome existence in the United States today.

Each year, as many as 500,000 unaccompanied youths experience homelessness. Many homeless young people have fled abusive homes, left or aged out the foster care system without resources, or been rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Increased discrimination against the homeless youth population is leading thousands to life on the street and the need is greater than ever for shelter beds and resources. The National Campaign for Youth Shelter calls for an immediate commitment of 22,000 shelter beds and services to match the impending influx of youths requesting services. The campaign also calls for a more accurate and comprehensive effort to count the number of homeless youth in the nation in order to determine the number of beds that are needed over the next decade. It is only through understanding the ongoing issue and realities of homeless youth that their needs can be address.

Schools and community groups can support this campaign. When planning events for this year’s H&H Week, event organizers can shine an important light on vulnerable youth populations. NCH is encouraging groups to take actions that will be matched around the country to start a movement that will keep fighting long after Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Find your local shelter that provides resources specifically to homeless youth and see what they need or what resources they lack. Advocate on the behalf of discriminated LGBTQ youths to your local, state, and federal officials. Help your community know what resources are needed and raise funds and materials for your local shelter. Our society cannot sustain the lack of resources for homeless youth. There is only 1 bed available for every 125 homeless youth. Awareness and advocacy this Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week can help to increase the number of youth shelter beds increase and decrease the number of homeless youth on the streets.

Download the Planning Guide for advice on organizing youth-focused awareness events.

Meet NCH’s Fall Interns

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Uncategorized

AdamAdam Goldstein
American University
Majoring in Political Science with History Minor
Class of 2017

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in the suburbs. Living in the suburbs puts people in a bubble. They are not exposed to daily reminders of the homeless problem in the United States. I was one of those people.

Growing up in such an insulated community prevented me from seeing anything beyond the average panhandler when I dared venture into the city to go to a restaurant or sporting event. This vague view of the homeless community was shattered once I began to become more cognizant of politics and the wider social issues plaguing many Americans today. After taking a sociology class in the spring of 2014 I knew I wanted to work on this issue. Understanding the structural problems behind homelessness is the first step towards solving them. When a panhandler in the city asked for change, I wanted to know why they asked for money.

At the National Coalition for the Homeless I help to add homelessness to the list of protected characteristics in the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act. Preventing discrimination is an important step towards busting the cyclical nature of homelessness. My goal in the future is to continue to help those at the bottom of the economic and social totem pole reach success, and what better place to start than at NCH, right in the nation’s capital?

 

Annie LeomporraAnnie
Northeastern University
Masters in Urban and Regional Policy with emphasis on Homelessness
Class of 2015

I grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul Minnesota with a degree in Justice and Peace Studies.

My internship with the National Coalition for the Homeless has given me incredible experience in lobbying, writing reports and researching civil rights issues surrounding homelessness. I am currently working with Michael Stoops and the People for Fairness Coalition on trying to add homelessness to the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act. This legislation would make DC the first city in the country to declare people experiencing homelessness as a protected class. I have also had the honor of assisting with the now published 2014 food-sharing report, Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need.

Anyone who is interested in homelessness issues should consider interning at the National Coalition for the Homeless. You’ll gain incredible experience working for a national nonprofit with an unbelievable staff and you’ll make great contacts in the District of Columbia.

 

JarredJarred Myers
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Majoring in Law & Public Policy
Class of 2016

I have been enjoying my time with the National Coalition for the Homeless, where I serve as the intern for the National Campaign for Youth Shelter. The amount of hard work and dedication that goes into this great organization continues to teach me great values in working to assist individuals who are currently facing homelessness. As someone who comes from a family of public servants, I have always had an understanding that there will be individuals who have gone through and who are currently going through rough times. However, since I have started my time here at the National Coalition for the Homeless, I have started to catch glimpses at what it takes to live a life serving others. Although I have volunteered at many organizations working to provide assistance for homeless individuals and their families, I would not have imagined being able to view what homelessness was like on a national scale. The National Campaign for Youth Shelter has taught me that there is much more to be done in the prevention and the eradication of homelessness. There needs to be better research and a better understanding of the lives of individuals who are struggling to do what is necessary for them to live a life much more desirable than the one on the street.

 

Auburn TrotterAuburn
University of Central Arkansas
Majoring in Public Administration
Class of 2016

I was granted the opportunity to intern with the National Coalition for the Homeless as a member of the Washington Center Program here in DC. Whilewith NCH, I will be serving as a policy intern for the affordable housing and rental assistance campaign. After graduation,I aspire to work for a non-profit organization that serves both domestic and international citizens, emphasizing on community development. Whether that’s educationally, economically or with programs thataid in reducing homelessness.

When I found out that I was going to be living in DC for three months, I was extremely excited. I came to the city looking to explore and learn about all the beautyit has to offer. Working for NCH has immersed me into the DC culture and I am loving it!I’m very excited to see what I will learn within the coming months of working at NCH. The rental assistance and voucher campaign has become like my baby and I plan to help this campaign succeed!

 

DeirdreDeirdre Walsh
Catholic University of America
Majoring in History with Peace & Justice Studies Minor
Class of 2015

Growing up outside of Boston, Massachusetts I participated and led various community service projects and organizations. I knew that I wanted to continue volunteering in college, but I did not know that it would become such a big part of my life. Upon starting as a student at The Catholic University of America, I began working with weekly service opportunities such as delivering meals to homeless men and women throughout Washington, D.C. I connected with the people I served and learned more about the obstacles they experienced living on the streets and in poverty. I wanted to do more for them. Their stories and hardships gave me a drive to not only work to make sure their daily needs were met, but also advocate for change to help them out of poverty and end the discrimination they experienced.

As an intern with the National Coalition for the Homeless, I have the opportunity to engage with passionate leaders and community advocates who have made ending poverty their goal. The experience to understand grassroots organizing and witness change as it happens is invaluable and will provide me with the tools to pursue advocacy as a career after I graduate. Although NCH is a national organization, it still maintains its personal connection with the people and cause it advocates for. My time here has taught me to always remember who you are working for and to know that when you advocate for change, you advocate for a person.

NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG

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