November 1, 2016
As you may know, youth homelessness is a huge problem in the United States.
1.7 million young men and women are without parents, a house, and food almost everyday. Homeless teens make up half of the homeless population in the United States. Every year 5 to 7% more young adults will become homeless. Homelessness in young adults in the United States is becoming more of a problem every day. I have chosen to learn more about the topic, and what I can do as a young adult to help homeless teens who don’t have a stable home and a loving family, find success in life. I believe that there is a way as long as we have the will, and that we can do something as a country and stand together to change this statistic once and for all.
Kids and young teens are getting abused by their “loved ones” and have no one to turn to, which can lead to them running away and not having a stable home or food. 75% of homeless teens will drop out of school due to not having a stable home and parents. Teens should have somewhere to go after school everyday, but the reality is they don't. That can lead to them to not being able or willing to go to school, which affects their future immensely, making it harder to get out of homelessness because they don't have the proper skills or education needed to work. All teens should be able to attend school and have parents or guardians who can take care of them everyday. They deserve a stable home so they don't need to drop out of school and potentially become homeless.
Homeless teens are usually in a unsafe place where they can get abused, raped, robbed or even killed while sleeping or just walking around if they do not have access to temporary housing. 80% of homeless teens use drugs or alcohol to “self medicate” while dealing with their traumatic experiences and abuse from parents, guardians, boyfriends or girlfriends everyday. Not enough safe housing is available to the homeless population, making it necessary to sleep wherever they can find room, which is often in a park or on the streets. Having more available housing would be a huge factor in helping the homeless community stay as safe as possible and off the streets. As soon as we prioritize more housing for the homeless, I believe we will see a rise in the safety of the homeless community.
There are stereotypes regarding homeless teens. Some people, especially adults, think that teens who are homeless ran away on purpose, and that they’re being stupid, “being teenagers” or they don't know what they're doing and will regret it later in life. We all make assumptions sometimes, and it’s easier to assume that they were kicked out or left because they got into bad things or they made stupid mistakes and now they're paying for it. We need to take the time to look inside, at what really went wrong or why they’re now homeless. We need to see the whole picture. I want to change our views about homeless teens, but I can't do it on my own. If there are 1.7 million homeless teens in just the U.S alone, we need just as many people to help get their stories out to the world to change stereotypes one person at a time. I think if the U.S population saw stories about homeless teens that were forced to leave their homes because their parents abused them or they needed to get away from an unsafe situation, we would be more educated about their lives, and truly realize how hard it is for them. If we all work together we can change the lives of many homeless teens in the U.S.
In conclusion, the number of homeless teens is at a high of 1.7 million just in the United States. This means 1.7 million young men and women are without a food and a stable home everyday. 75% of homeless teens will drop out of school because of an unsafe or unstable home, and 80% of homeless teens abuse alcohol and drugs to help them feel better. I think building more reliable homeless shelters can decrease the number of homeless teens who drop out, abuse drugs and who have to live on the streets unprotected and alone. With additional shelters, it is easier to get access to safety, which can make a huge impact. I want you to take an action by reading more about homelessness and shelters in the U.S, and thinking about how you can make a difference in the homeless community.