SUBMISSION: As a college student, making my bed is clearly not a priority. However many people my age and even younger don’t have a bed that they can choose to keep messy. In Massachusetts alone, there are an estimated 5,853 unaccompanied high school students experiencing homelessness. Nationally, over 1.5 million children under the age of 18 are homeless.
While homeless, youth are exposed to dangerous street economies that put them at great risk of abuse. With an estimated 100,000 children entering the global sex trade from the United States every year, street youth are one of the most vulnerable, especially those with no social networks or family protections.
Thankfully, homelessness for youth is not always spent on the street, often youth engage in “couch surfing” - an unstable and transitory alternative to shelters that relies on navigation of social networks to guarantee a place to sleep for the night. Governed by meeting expectations of friends, family members, and those they may be doubling up with, couch surfing is not the same as having one reliable place to sleep. Longer term stays at shelters often prove dangerous for youth as well, with most shelters not accommodating to the education and safety needs of youth.
The stability necessary to address substance abuse, past trauma, and navigating the job and housing markets can only be found when a person has access to a reliable, safe place to sleep. The current system for addressing youth homelessness lacks political efficacy and viable, stable paths out of homelessness.
f you believe that having a stable place to sleep is something homeless youth can’t afford to have missing from government budgets for homelessness programs, please contribute to this project in the following ways:
1. reblog, like, and share.
2. submit a picture of where you sleep.
3. learn more about youth homelessness in America at Stand Up For Kids