Causes of Teen Homelessness

Although it’s understood that adolescence has its own set of developmental milestones and specific emotional and behavioral characteristics, a lesser known fact is that similar elements contributing to adult homelessness may lead to homelessness among youth. Mental health and substance issues, lack of employment and low education levels are parallel factors that lead to youth homelessness. In addition, beyond these parallel factors, youth that experience strained family relationships, physical  abuse and neglect are more apt to be homeless. (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2007).

In one of the largest studies on homeless youth in New York, it was found that the futures of homeless youth did not look optimistic as they were severely isolated from family, schooling and channels of employment.  Thirty-seven percent of the youth in this study reported they had been victims of physical  abuse, nineteen percent  reported that they were victims of sexual abuse and forty-one percent reported that they had witnessed violence in their homes. (Covenant House, 2009).  In terms of family isolation, the growing concerns of youth gangs in terms of affiliation and family substitution only magnifies the issues surrounding youth homelessness.  Over the past several years, due to State budget cuts there is increasing concern as it pertains to not only necessary services for homeless youth but for the increasing demand for services as well.

Learn more about youth homelessness in this post from 11 Facts About Youth Homelessness.