My mother was one of those individuals who always had room for one more at the table, a spare bed, couch, extra clothes, a warm bath and even some guidance if it was needed. We weren't "rich" but we managed to share what we had. I remember one young man who wanted help getting off of drugs and alcohol and she walked with him to the rehab center. I watched as she treated each one as if they were her own child. Sure, I was jealous sometimes, but I knew that she was making a difference in someone's life. It was my job, as a member of our family, to give that person the acceptance and love that they needed.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless
- There are approximately 1.7 million homeless teens in the U.S.
- 39 percent of the homeless population is young people under 18.
- About 75 percent of homeless teens use drugs or alcohol as a means to self-medicate to deal with the traumatic experiences and abuse they face.
- 5,000 young people die every year because of assault, illness, or suicide while on the street.
- A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that 46 percent of homeless youth left their home because of physical abuse. 17 percent left because of sexual abuse.
- Approximately 40 percent of homeless teens identify as LGBT.
- Over 50 percent of young people in shelters and on the streets report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and didn’t care.
- The average age a teen becomes homeless is 14.7 years.
- 1 in 7 young people between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away.
- Teens age 12 to 17 are more likely to become homeless than adults.
- HIV rates for homeless young people are 2 to 10 times higher than reported rates for other samples of adolescents in the U.S.
There are homeless youth everywhere. It isn't somebody else's problem, it is our problem. Take charge and make a difference because every life is precious.
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