The Crisis of Youth Homelessness
One out of every 45 youth – some 1.6 million – in the United States is homeless, according to a report released by the National Center on Family Homelessness. The number of homeless youth in 2010 exceeded even the total in 2006, when thousands of families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita produced a historic spike in homelessness. Last year, at least 60,000 more young adults were homeless.
This is the number of homeless and runaway youth that Covenant House has helped with food, shelter, warmth, and love since opening its doors more than 35 years ago. The needs are greater than ever, though, as each year more than 2 million youth in America will face a period of homelessness.
What Would You Do to Survive Homelessness?
Would you climb into a dirty dumpster filled with trash, because at least inside a Dumpster you would be shielded from the wind and covered from the cold?
Would you find your way into a dark and abandoned building, huddle under newspapers, and try to ignore the rats scrambling on the floor around your feet?
Would you escape underground to the subway and lie on the dirty floor, praying that no one will kick you or hurt you while you sleep?
If you were a homeless youth, you might do any or all those things … you might not have a choice.
Every day, Covenant House gives shelter to homeless youth and responds to their most pressing needs. Last year alone, more than 55,000 homeless youth got help in Covenant House programs, including:
- Just under 25,000 young adults in our crisis shelters, long-term residential programs, the Mother/Child program and our Community Service Centers located in neighborhoods across the United States, Central America, and Canada
- More than 31,000 helped through Street Outreach Programs, where staff and volunteers search in vans and on foot for youth in desperate need
- Nearly 20,000 crisis calls to the Covenant House crisis hotline, from young people in immediate need on the streets, parents, and caregivers
Youth homelessness robs our communities of the potential talent and energy of these young people. They are our future, and they need our support. Covenant House Washington is committed to providing a place of shelter and support for every homeless youth who passes through our doors.