There are millions of homeless youth in America. On any given night, you can find these children ducking into abandoned buildings, crammed up against alley dumpsters, curled inside the big yellow slide of a local playground. I imagine they are thankful for sleep, wary of a new day, but thankful nonetheless. Homelessness at such a young age if left alone, leads to increased rates of conflict. The more homeless youths now, the more our country as a whole will have to deal with divorce, mental illness, and the need for government assistance.
We can prevent this in many different ways. We can give donations. We as basic consumers, can make more thought out economical decisions. We can push for legislation demanding a stricter screening of foster homes and orphanages, for better observation of youths leaving facilities like detention and rehabilitation centers. These are potential solutions, but the most effective is the simplest of all. The best way to solve the rising youth homelessness in America, is to better educate ourselves.
With the worsening state of the economy there has been a steady rise in the rates of homelessness for all ages. The causes amongst youth homelessness include financial instability, abusive guardians, conflict between the youth and their guardians in dealings with sexual activity or pregnancy. This leads to a greater need for government assistance, welfare, charity. It includes those same youths growing up to experience higher rates of divorce and mental illness. They will have a greater chance of ending up in prison, in poverty, or even plagued by addiction.
Then we are posed with the task of solving those conflicts. It may be years later, but the problem of homelessness does not just go away, it shifts. It becomes a nation dependent on welfare, a nation divorced or imprisoned. Then our solutions become government funded. Feed the prisoners. Put a time frame on the food-stamps. Reign in unemployment checks. We find these are things that, although unavoidable, could have been greatly lessened years before.
Present organizations, like the National Coalition for the Homeless and Back on My Feet, focus most of their attention on volunteering and contribution. While these are completely justified and certainly expected, there is reason they have not seen the success they would have liked to see. This reason is the lack of education by both society and the children thrust into homelessness. Organizations hint at this, but most do not make it a primary goal. Emily Colangelo of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, writes, “The more people who are informed and educated about homelessness legislation and policies, and the more people who are committed to ending homelessness, the more likely it is that America's leaders will make the most logical and worthwhile decisions concerning the issue.” (Colangelo 406). This is the power an education has.
The perfect starting place for this is with the youth themselves. School...