Homelessness can affect a diverse range of individuals at any given time, often due to unforseen circumstances, with youth being one of the most susceptible age groups. Drawing from a 2008 study by Chamberlin and Mackenzie, 43% of the 100,000 people experiencing homelessness were 24 years or younger, 21% of these individuals were between the ages of 12 and 18. Youth become homeless often from parental conflicts, breakdown of relationship with their partners and inability to afford living expenses, they often come from a diverse range of backgrounds (National Youth Commission, 2008). Homelessness does not always mean ‘rooflessness’ which is the common perception, it also includes living in shelters, temporarily staying with a friend or in single room boarding houses (National Youth Commission, 2008).
Numerous studies have been conducted around the topic of youth homelessness including individuals pathways to homelessness and further onto adult homelessness, health aspects, identity construction, government involvement and educational impacts to name a few. With such a large number of homeless youth it has become increasingly important for social practitioners working within a homeless context to gain a wide understanding of the issues surrounding, resulting from and contributing to youth homelessness. The following annotated bibliography attempts to create an overview of the wide array of homeless youth studies, journal articles and texts mainly within an Australian context but also including journal articles from Canadian and American studies.
Booth, S.L., & Conveny, J.(2007). Survival on
the streets: Prosocial and moral behaviors among food insecure homeless youth in Adelaide, South Australia. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 2(1), 41-53. doi:10.1080/19320240802080874
The authors research focuses on food attainment practices and moral and pro-social behaviors which reinforce food attainment strategies within a sample of homeless
youth in Australia. Evidence of pro-social behavior was found; with coordination
between youth in obtaining food, often creating ‘street families’ who worked
together to alleviate food stress, swapped warnings, and providing protection for the vulnerable.
The research endeavored to support Banduras (1996) Moral Disengagement Theory
but acknowledged that it lacked sample size for an accurate indication. This
research was conducted on a small sample in a ‘real world’ context; using qualitative data the authors attempted to fill a gap in research and provided insight into the impact of alleviation food needs for homeless youth. This research paper has added to my understanding of potential impacters on homeless youth behaviors, such as food stress and understanding the potential importance of street families for homeless youth.
Chamberlain, C., & MacKenzie, D.(2005) Youth homelessness: Four policy proposals. Youth Studies Australia, 24(2), 32-38. Retrieved from...