Regardless of the status of a single individual, I am truly glad that Miley Cyrus decided to bring attention the needs of homeless youth. In the spirit of sharing some FACTS, I am posting stats from SafeHorizon.org
Of note: every year, approximately 5,000 homeless young people will DIE because of assault, illness, or suicide while on the street.
http://www.safehorizon.org/page/streetwork-homeless-youth...According to a 2002 federal study, approximately 1.7 million young people call the streets home every year.
Children under 18 years of age accounted for 39% of the homeless population. Of that number, 42% were younger than age 5.
Approximately 40% of homeless youth identify as L(esbian) G(ay) B(isexual) or T(ransgendered) – compared to 10% of the general youth population in the United States.
What can cause a young person to be homeless?
Young people are at far greater risk of becoming homeless if their parents engage in substance abuse or have mental health problems, if there is child abuse or neglect in the home, if the family has been homeless previously, or if they identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that 46% of homeless youth escaped a home where they suffered physical abuse, while 17% left because of sexual abuse.
Children who have been in foster care have a greater risk of becoming homeless at an earlier age than other youth, and are more likely to remain homeless for a longer period of time.
What happens to young people who try to survive on the streets?
Young people who are too old for foster care and too young to apply for social services face devastating short- and long-term consequences from being forced to survive on the streets.
Nearly 43% of homeless young men and 39% of homeless young women say they were assaulted with a weapon while living on the streets.Homeless youth suffer significant mental health problems that include depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.Young people living on the streets are highly likely to be engaged in substance abuse (approximately 75%), as a means to self-medicate to deal with traumatic experiences and abuse they face while trying to survive.Children living on the streets are more likely to engage in “survival sex” – trading sex to gain food, clothing, drugs, money, or just for a safe place to sleep at night.According to a San Francisco government study, 17% of homeless youth are HIV-positive.Homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered are more likely commit suicide than other youth.Every year, approximately 5,000 homeless young people will die because of assault, illness, or suicide while on the street.