Every day there are as many as 400 homeless youth living on the streets of Portland. Each youth has a different story—a different set of needs and challenges. Some are teen parents, some are addicted to drugs, and some have mental health issues. Some have spent years in foster homes. Others are forced out of their homes or abandoned by parents. Many run away from abuse. Most distrust authority and adults. All of them have been forced to leave their childhood behind and adapt to street life.
At New Avenues for Youth, we believe that every youth is valuable and that, with proper support and opportunities, homeless youth can take control of their lives, leave the streets, and become stable adults. Understanding the issues homeless youth face is key to being able to provide solutions. Here are some facts you may or may not know about youth homelessness:
- Almost 80% of people experiencing homelessness in America are under the age of 25.
- Youth aged 12-17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults.
- Between 1.6 and 2.8 millions of youth runaway and/or are homeless in a year.
- As many as 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.
- 75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school.
- Homeless teens have a lifetime pregnancy rate of 48% compared to 10% for those who are housed.
- More than 2/3 of homeless youth have mental health problems from stressful and traumatic experiences.
- In 2012, nearly 40% of youth who aged out of the U.S. foster care system had been homeless.
- Less than 3% of foster youth who age out go to college. Of the 3% who go to college, less than that end up graduating.
- There are an estimated 24,000 unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness each year in Oregon.
- 2,985 students were homeless in Multnomah County in 2014.
- 108 youth aged out of foster care in Multnomah County in 2014.
For more information on youth homelessness…