Dear Future President:
I am a highschool student from Texas, and I am writing to you about one of America’s worst problems— youth homelessness. Youth homelessness is often wrongly overlooked, even though nearly 1.7 million youth in America struggle to survive on the streets, alone, hungry and with hardly any hope of a better future; this after having dealt with years of parental neglect, domestic violence, addiction of a family member, physical and sexual abuse, etc. Unless you intervene, this problem is only going to get worse as housing prices in major cities skyrocket and it is increasingly difficult for college students to qualify for public housing. You should take action to alleviate this problem by providing affordable housing and bettering the foster care system.
The first thing you should do is pass legislation to make it easier for low-income youth to get housing. Currently, it is very difficult for them to obtain subsidized housing because there are many restrictions placed on housing for college students, and families are given precedence over homeless youth, so much so that many are on the waiting list for housing for over a decade. It should be made easier for students to get housing, and youth should be given equal priority on the waiting list. One may argue that families should receive higher priority than youth, but youth homelessness is just as serious as any other type of homelessness. Besides that, providing affordable housing to youths is not only a solution for their immediate situation, but it is also a long-term solution. Being able to live in a home and obtain a higher education allows youths to rise out of poverty and establish a proper lifestyle, perhaps even going on to no longer rely on the government’s and nonprofit organizations’ assistance.
Providing affordable housing lessens youth homelessness, but only to some extent. After all, there is only so much housing available. To further mitigate youth homelessness, we must look to the major source of homelessness—the foster care system. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “22,392 kids graduated from foster care in 2014 without a place to call home, or people to live with”, and many kids whose foster homes change frequently also graduate without a proper education. This means that they exit the system having no viable way to support themselves and end up homeless. While it may not be possible to ensure that foster children do not age out of foster care without a “forever family” or change homes frequently, you can at least more strongly encourage the public to adopt children. A proper education could be more easily arranged through bills such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives foster children the right to stay in their home school, transfer credits, and enroll in a new school immediately if necessary.
In short, youth homelessness is one of America’s greatest problems and should be alleviated through measures such as providing affordable housing and improving the foster care system. Issues such as immigration, abortion and gun control receive more attention than youth homelessness, but youth homelessness is far more serious than any of those other issues. The only fate worse than death is torture, and that is what youth homelessness is. Your duty as the next president is to help the American people, and I ask you to fulfill this duty and help the homeless youth.
Your concerned citizen