Homeless youth is a real problem that can be reduced. There is a huge number of young adults who age out of foster care going homeless, “Forty percent of young people who age out of foster care at eighteen become homeless before their mid-twenties” (Ryan 5). Homeless youth are set up for failure from the beginning and I believe the government should give these young adults a chance to improve their own standard of living and give them a chance to succeed. Homeless youth population can be greatly reduced if we minimize the causes of youth becoming homeless, encourage the already homeless youth to enroll in school and help homeless youth to get jobs where they have a future and can excel.
Homeless youth numbers can be greatly reduced if we minimize a major cause of homeless youth, which is faulty foster care. In the foster care system, a young adult can be placed into dozens of different foster care homes, “Young people who move frequently from one foster home to another lose an average of six months of progress per move” (Ryan6). This happens more often then you think to kids like Benjamin who moved to and from dozens of foster homes. Benjamin is an 18 year old young adult who is an example of this issue. These changes impacted him and his education so much he could only read to a 2nd grade level by the time he was 18. How is a young adult like Benjamin supposed to find a job and make a living without these basic reading skills. To me, kids are either set up for success or for failure though their childhood, there is no in-between. Benjamin was definitely set up for failure due to him being moved dozens of times in foster care. This fault in the foster care system, that of kids being moved dozens of times to different foster homes needs to be changed. I believe there should be a law made that outlaws kids from being moved to more than 5 different foster care homes. This will improve the overall education of kids in foster care and will also as a result decrease the large number of foster care kids going homeless.
The country should encourage the already homeless youth to enroll in school. Right now we are doing the opposite, “The nonprofit welcomes students, but has to limit student residents to part-timers to qualify for federal tax credits” (Saeturn20). This means if a student goes to a shelter but the shelter has too many students, they can’t stay there unless they un-enroll in school. This is counter productive, we should encourage homeless youth to enroll in school. If the homeless youth enroll in school and receive an education they will be able to acquire higher paying jobs which will allow them to afford basic necessities such as housing. We should change the current tax credits to welcome and make is easier for the homeless youth to receive an education. This will as a result decrease the already homeless youth and improve the future success of these same kids.
As a nation we should help homeless youth to get jobs where they have a future and can excel. Right now public housing is a dead end because homeless youth move in and never move out. This creates a long waiting list for homeless youth to get in to public housing. Mendoza is a young adult with a low income who currently lives in public housing, “Mendoza is one of the lucky ones. There are far more low-income youth who need housing than there are subsidized apartments available” (Saeturn11). Mendoza is an example of why public housing is a dead end because she doesn't have a job that can support her moving out of public housing. This can be fixed. There needs to be a program created that helps the youth living in public housing find a paying job that can support them enough to save money and move out of public housing. This way other homeless youth can move in and get a jobs. This way public housing is a cycle instead of a dead end. This will decrease the amount of homeless youth substantially.
Homeless youth is a current problem throughout the nation and it can be greatly reduced. We can do this by minimizing the major cause of youth becoming homeless which is faulty foster care system in which kids are too often moved among homes. Also, we need to encourage already homeless youth to enroll and stay in school, which will help them get high paying jobs. Lastly, we need to help homeless youth get jobs that create a future for them by building a program to help them find jobs that can support them.
Ryan, Kevin. “A Bill of Rights For Foster Children.”
The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-m-ryan/a-bill-of-rights-for-fost_b_8687336.html*
Saturn, Kasey. “Young Adults Seeking Public Housing? Good Luck.”
Youth Radio, https://youthradio.org/journalism/education/young-adults-seeking-public-housing-good-luck/*