Every Year, More Than 1.6 Million Young Adults in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness

Behind the face of every homeless young person is another heartbreaking story – a teenage boy abused by his alcoholic parent, a pregnant girl rejected by her guardian, or a teenager trying to escape gang membership or a life of forced prostitution.

In case after case, the main cause of youth homelessness is physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse from parents or guardians.

The facts about homelessness are staggering … but acknowledging the depth of the problem is the first step in fixing it.

  • 57% of homeless young people spend at least one day every month without food
  • 49% lack a high school diploma or GED
  • 84% are unemployed upon admission to Covenant House Washington
  • 30% have history of Foster Care or Residential Placement
  • 64% report history of physical and/or sexual abuse
  • In the United States, as many as 20,000 young adults are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
  • According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member is a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
  • More than 25% of former foster youth become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
  • 50% of youth aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently and have limited education and no social support.
  • Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.

In addition to these heartbreaking statistics, a study issued by the Covenant House Institute revealed that:

  • 41% of Covenant House youth witnessed acts of violence in their homes.
  • 36% of Covenant House youth indicated that someone in their family used drugs regularly.
  • 19% of Covenant House youth reported being beaten with an object.
  • 19% of Covenant House youth reported that they have endured sexual abuse.
  • 15% of Covenant House youth reported that someone close to them had been murdered.

That’s why Covenant House Washington works day and night to provide shelter and support for young adults who have endured lives of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Last year, Covenant House Washington provided housing and sanctuary to 200 homeless young people and their children through one of our residential programs.  CHW also offered educational support to nearly 380 young people and their babies in our GED and ABE classes, and in our Child Development Center.


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