Homelessness Essay

2018 words - 9 pages

Homelessness among adolescents in the Seattle area is a critical issue that requires everyone’s consideration and concern. Historically, homelessness has persistently been very problematic in society. In the King County area there are as many as 1,000 youths that are alone in the streets on any given night. The most recent survey completed by King County (Count Us In) presented that there were 777 youth and young adults in the King County area that were either homeless or were in unstable housing on the night of January 22, 2014 (KingCounty.gov).
These teens were either disowned by their families that could not handle them anymore, former foster kids, or kids that were bullied ...view middle of the document...

There has been some progress made since Toro reviewed the collected works on the homeless youth. Some research has been focused on the youth that is “aging out” of foster care, which is a great help in figuring out a solution. The more that is learned, the more our knowledge will increase about what will work when it comes to preventing homelessness as well as programs that could be offered to the homeless youth (Dalton, Elias, & Wandersman, 2007).
First, we must understand the definition of homelessness and what it means to be a homeless youth. Another question that needs to be answered is who makes up the homeless youth population? The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA, 2008) offer the definition of a homeless youth as individuals who are under the age of 21 and find it impossible to find a safe place to live with either a relative or friend. This definition would imply that these homeless youth are alone without a parent or guardian (Haber & Toro, 2004). In addition, there are different ways to distinguish homeless youth from other homeless populations: single adults, who are commonly white, with no children; and homeless families, generally made of a mother with children. The homeless youth could be broken into categories such as throwaways, who have been forced to leave the home by their parents, runaways, who left the home without their parents’ permission, street youth, the ones who were living on the streets at one point in their lives, system youths, are kids that age out of either foster care or juvenile justice system (Hammer, Finkelhor, & Sedlack, 2002). These distinctions or groupings could offer ideas on why and how these young people are out on the streets and in turn suggestion ideas of prevention or management.
Homeless youth are unlike the stereotypical homeless person because when a young person leaves their place of residence, they start off by staying with friends. This usually does not last for very long and the youth is bounced around from house to house till they have exhausted all options. Their background, similar experiences and psychosocial problems might be the common characteristics that all homeless youth share. This might be because they come from a broken home, living in low-income communities, families are extremely poor and have had some kind of family disturbance (Toro & Goldstein, 2000). Many times these types of problems many times may lead to the family having to move often, which makes youth homelessness seem to be a part of a longer pattern of residential uncertainty.
Furthermore, school could be another indicator or warning sign that a troubled teen is struggling with daily life. Many of these homeless youth have either been suspended or expelled at one point or another (Toro & Goldstein, 2000). This in turn has led to a high rate of drop-outs. Some research had suggested these academic and behavior problems may be due to attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities. Surveyed youth appear...

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