Young people end up on the street for a variety of reasons. Some are fleeing their parents’ or guardians’ neglect or abuse. Addiction and family disputes can often exacerbate already tenuous situations. These kids tend to hang together for protection, learning from each other how to access services and avoid detection from authorities that might try to send them home. In some ways, they have fewer options than their adult counterparts, since many of them can’t legally work and most have no work experience. And simply staying in school can be a major challenge when there are daily concerns about securing food, shelter and healthcare. What’s more, their numbers — in Oregon and around the country — seem to be on the rise.
In the next installment in our No Place to Call Home series, we will hear from homeless youth.
Were you homeless as a young person? How did that impact the rest of your life? What choices did you feel like you had about your living situation?
Do you work with homeless youth? What patterns have you noticed among young people without a home?