Updated: Nov 26, 2022
November 2022 is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. This is a time to raise awareness for homeless youth, and find ways to help teens that are facing homelessness. This is a community issue that needs more support, and help from everyone in society.
According to the National Traumatic Stress Network,
As many as 2.5 million youth per year experience homelessness. Along with losing their home, community, friends, and routines as well as their sense of stability and safety, many homeless youth are also victims of trauma. While trying to survive on the streets, youth are exposed to countless dangers, with an increased likelihood of substance abuse, early parenthood, impulsivity, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and a vulnerability to being trafficked.
When youth are on the streets, there is a chance that they can lose hope in themselves, and have difficulty reaching out for help.
As someone who was a homeless teen myself once, this is an issue that is close to my heart. It is a struggle to be homeless as a teen because, instead of being able to find a home or a job like a homeless adult can, teens are forced to rely on adults for help.
Teens can be afraid to apply for jobs if they are runaways, and are often forced into dangerous living situations because they are forced to rely on whoever is willing to help them. This often means that they are reaching out to other teens for support, instead of looking into a system that they can be distrustful of.
When teens are forced into homelessness because of problems at home, they often feel like the system will side with their parents instead of with them, and force them to go back home to a dangerous living situation.
These days however, there is more help available for homeless and runaway teens than there was in my days.
The National Runaway Safeline tells teens:
You CAN find safety and stability by identifying informal supports or alternative living arrangements, employment resources and more. You CAN get validation of your feelings and a greater sense of confidence and you CAN improve your home and school life. While we can’t guarantee an immediate solution, our goal is to improve your situation. We are here to listen.
When teens call the National Runaway Safeline (1-800-RUNAWAY), they aren't automatically forced to go back home. They are allowed to receive help and services away from their families if that is determined to be what is best for them.
Help spread awareness
Not all kids and teens grow up in happy families. Many are abused or neglected and don't have safe homes with their parents. This is one reason, among many, why many teens face homelessness.
They don't want to go back to unsafe homes, and are short on other options.
Please help support these vulnerable teens by sharing this information about the runaway safeline for anyone who is needing these resources.