Youth Homelessness

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:

  • An estimated 1.7 million people under 18 will experience homelessness each year.
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  • There are an estimated 20,000 homeless youth in the state of Oregon.
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  • 12-17 year olds are more at risk of homelessness than adults.
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  • Over 80% of homeless youth report suffering abuse at the hands of an adult.
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  • 63% of runaway and homeless youth are never reported missing or sought after by parents or guardians.
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  • Homeless and runaway adolescents are six times more likely to have mental disorders than their non-homeless peers.
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  • Nearly half of youth on the street and a third of youth in shelters report having been pregnant in the past.  In fact, the pregnancy rate for homeless youth aged 15-19 is over 10 times higher than the rate of at-home youth.
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  • LGBTQ youth account for 20-40% of homeless youth in the US, while only about 5-10% of the general youth population identify as such.

  • For more information on youth homelessness…

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