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Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

Congress Takes a Stand against Youth Homelessness with Reauthorized Bill

Written by Je'Lissa on . Posted in Policy Advocacy, Youth

On January 27, 2015, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to expand programs for vulnerable youth who are homeless and on their own. The National Coalition for the Homeless strongly endorses this legislation.

This bill would reauthorize and expand the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, a law that expired in the last Congress. The new bill, titled the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA), will continue programs for unaccompanied homeless youth with increased funding for services such as transitional housing and street outreach. Expansion of RHYTPA also ensures LGBTQ youth are granted access to services free of discrimination. It also expands support for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The National Coalition applauds the work of Senators Collins, Leahy, Ayotte, and Booker on this important piece of legislation. We urge Congress to pass this legislation without delay.

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.

Why Membership Matters to Youth

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Youth

Through being a member of NCH, find out how you can help LGBTQ youth deal with the risk of homelessness. Here is some insight from our summer intern, Meghana Sthanam.

This summer, I am fortunate to be able to advocate for a problem I am truly passionate about: the disproportionately large number of LGBT individuals facing homelessness everyday. I’m originally from Birmingham, Alabama, where, almost unsurprisingly, you find a sizable population of LGBT youth without consistent housing. Most live with friends or stay at clubs, hoping to find a bed for the night by whatever means. Although I recognized the problem, after joining NCH, I realized this is a problem that plagues the entire country. In the general population, 3-5% of people self-identify as LGTBQ. Furthermore, studies have shown that the homeless LGBTQ youth population in theU.S.can be as high as 40%, almost half of the entire homeless population. It’s easy to see that young LGBTQ individuals inherently face greater risks of homelessness and discrimination simply by identifying themselves as a different sexual orientation or gender identity. I believe this issue deserves as much attention as other LGBTQ issues, such as gay marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; we cannot continue with this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thinking that has pervaded our culture.

There are so many ways our members can help. For those involved with shelters, whether an employee or shelter resident, using positive language to create a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals is essential.  By simply avoiding derogatory thoughts and actions, you can make a person feel more welcome, especially when that person is coming from a climate in which acceptance is lacking. For our youth members still in school: be a friend! The numbers show that an extremely high percentage of homeless LGBTQ have experienced harassment and abuse within their home and school. Thus, reaching out a friendly hand can make a huge difference in someone’s life. For individuals working with law enforcement, LGBTQ youth compose 13-15% of those currently in the juvenile justice system, often because of the school-to-prison pipeline, abandonment by their family or victimization in their schools. Lastly, to all our members: please continue to be an advocate!

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