Availability of housing facilities is of significance in the life of children/youths in the society. Homeless youths are the individuals that are under the age of eighteen years who lacks consistent place to stay or whose residence is a private or public shelter that is meant to give a temporal accommodation. America is the most industrialized and a superpower in the word but it has millions of residents who live below the poverty line that is set by the United Nations.
Many of these people are young people/youths who lack proper shelter and they are therefore homeless Even though it is difficult to establish the exact population of the homeless youths in the United States of America, the Department of Justice through the office of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention estimated the population to be about 1682900 and these youths are in the age bracket of 15 and 17 years. Also, the National Coalition for the Homeless has carried out some studies and released a report which shows that the youth homelessness is continuously increasing in America.
The foundation of the factors that leads to youth homelessness in America is based on the deficiency of the necessary basic requirements. Some of the causes of homelessness include the absence of social support to the youths, presence of economic insecurity, lack of affordable shelter/housing facilities, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, lack of emergency help, existence of various forms of violence in the homes, some health conditions and behaviors and the participation of youths in the child welfare systems.
Violence is one of the primary causes of youth homelessness because a large percentage of the homeless youths are from the many mothers who are also homeless due to domestic violence. Also, some children are homeless because of experiencing different forms of violence in their homes whereby other family members may sexually or physically abuse them. Many of the domestic violence cases involve the intimate partner violence, which is the major cause of the instability in many homes.
There are various behavioral health problems enhancing the runaway of the youths from their homes and they end up becoming homeless. Some children/youths are exposed to severe trauma and violence that makes them acquire behavioral health problems and they have high chances of being depressed and prone to various mental problems, which lead to homelessness. Many runaway youths experience various forms of mental problems and they always exhibit much behavioral problems.
The youths become homeless due to some disruptions of their families caused by divorce. These youths may experience short or long-term homelessness. If the families break up, the youths are forced to search for new places to live and this becomes very difficult for them. They may lack suitable places to go or stay as they may lack the required funds. In respect to this, some of the youths may end up staying/sleeping in the streets temporarily and this may finally lead to long-term youth homelessness.
The youths that are in the foster care are prone to homelessness. Most of the youths in the care provide reports of running away from their homes. The researches have shown than a greater percentage of the foster youths have experienced homelessness. In recent years, there have been reports economic problems such as unemployment which leads to the rise of homelessness in the United States of America. Due to this economic/financial crisis, the number of people who are homeless is in the increase.
Since the year 2007, the income for many workers has decreased and hence many people are not able to afford the suitable accommodation/shelter. Also, the job stability and security have deteriorated and the large population of the unemployed people and their families cannot be able to escape homelessness. For instance, the number of unemployment has increased since December 2007 by more than 14. 5 million whereby the unemployment rate is much higher among the non-professional people/workers and their families are highly vulnerable to homelessness layoffs.
Among the homelessness youths, a greater percentage of the youths originate from the families with low income levels and unemployed members (National Coalition for the Homelessness, 2009). Recently, the number of the affordable housing facilities in the United States of America has been on a decline. Many households especially the ones with children of the age below 18 years have reported various housing problems such as overcrowding, inadequate housing, rent or cost problems and others whereby people are forced to use a greater percentage of their total income to meet the housing costs.
Since the year 1997, the unmet requirements for the cheap rental houses have increased to date leading to the increase of the youth homelessness. For example, the deficit of the housing unit for poor families in America is about 3. 3 million units and the various surveys that have been conducted in different cities shows that the demand for emergence housing and shelter by the homeless families increased in the year 2001 The homeless families, which have young children and youths, do not have adequate and appropriate social support.
These families have been found to have few positive social networks and interactions and less support. Sometimes, the homeless families do not perceive some of the existing social networks as the effective resources of the positive social support. Many homeless youths without social support report many incidences of social problems and they regard their homeless counterparts as their sources of support as compared to their parents and other family members. This shows the failed social networks in families, which leads to youth homelessness.
Lack of immergence and rescue services in the country to help the youths contributes to the rise of youth homelessness in the United States in America. For instance, the various institutions and the government has failed to assist the homeless youths to get permanent homes or to return to their original homes. This makes the number of the homeless youth population to increase. Due to homelessness of the youths in America, they face a lot of devastating problems and several barriers in their lives.
These barriers hinders interferes with the youth’s ability to be assimilated into the society, inhibit their independence and success, depresses their motivation and prevents them from effectively contributing to the society’s development aspects. Also, this youth homelessness brings despair to them, which come in terms of drug use, mental health problems, criminal activities, dangerous sexual acts, victimization and lack of access to the required education and employment opportunities when they grow.
Some of these problems become a big burden to the society since the cost of alleviating the homelessness problem is very high. The homeless youths gets themselves in helpless situations and this makes them to participate in criminal activities in an effort of enhancing their daily survival. For example, some youths may break into other people’s houses looking for shelter and others may involve themselves in prostitution and selling of illegal drugs. The use of many types of drugs is viewed to the degree that the youths identify with the culture of homeless people.
Therefore, they use and abuse the illegal substances as long as they are within the homelessness lifestyle. There are high chances of the homeless youths becoming the victims of crimes in society and the trauma rates are very high for these youths as opposed to other youths in the society. Sometimes, many of the homeless youths find themselves involved in robbery incidents and sexual assault As a result of complex issues of the homeless youths there are programs that contribute towards development and improvement of social policies, interventions and policies to help the homeless youths.
These interventions improve the living standards of the homeless youths through the minimization of their challenges. This is achieved through social and economic empowerments of the youths to enable them achieve interpersonal relationships, physical health and access necessary services. This was established in the year 1999 and it provides funds to the state. It also provides flexibility in the implementation of programs that are meant to help the youth who leaves the foster care.
The act doubles the funding for the living standards programs to about 140 dollars per annum, allows the states to use about thirty percent of their program funds for room and board for the youths who have left the foster programs, requires the states to use their funds to assist the older youths who are below 21 years of age and have left the foster care and establishes the Chafee Foster Care Independence program which allows the states to use their funds to provide housing, financial, counseling, employment and educational support to the youths who have left foster care and who are between 18 and 21 years.
The homeless youths should be assisted to have privacy, stability independence and secure permanent residential houses. There are various housing programs in the United States of America, which favors the families that earn very low incomes. An example is the section 8 and the public housing programs. The section 8 program gives certificate programs that enable many families in the United States of America to live in the private houses and the public housing program concerns the houses that are owned by the public housing authorities that provides housing to people putting into consideration their inancial capabilities and disability status. Also there is low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program that provides funds to various house developers to enable them meet the costs of the low income house building through the federal credit tax. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was established in 1987 and it given an authority in 2001 to address the educational requirements of the homeless youth.
Under this program various state agencies such as the state educational agency which ensures that all youths who are homeless gets access to equal education opportunities in various public schools. Safe Haven Model and Outreach and Intake is a program that led to the starting of the clinically enhanced safe haven shelter to involve the homeless people so that are able to obtain important services such as substance abuse treatment, treatment of mental health, primary care and residential stability.
Also, there is the outreach for safe haven that is conducted by the Homeless Outreach Team. The roles of HOT are to identify the people who are chronically homeless after which they are provided with appropriate services. The people who are recognized by HOT are those who are homeless, living in streets, abusing drugs and having mental problems such as depression. The foundation of the factors that leads to youth homelessness in America is based on the deficiency of the necessary basic requirements.
The various causes of youth homelessness include the absence of social support to the youths, presence of economic insecurity, lack of affordable shelter/housing facilities, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, lack of emergency help, existence of various forms of violence in the homes, some health conditions and behaviors and the participation of youths in the welfare systems. Also there are consequences of youth homelessness. They include sexual acts and their outcomes, food problems/insecurity, criminal activities and victimization, behavioral and emotional development and Effects on education and employment.
To assist the homeless youths, there are various programs that have been established. They include Runaway and Homeless Youth Protection Act, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Housing Subsidy and The Foster Care Independence Act.
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