No one grows up wanting to be homeless. The young people we meet are navigating life circumstances beyond their control. They all want the chance to stabilize and thrive.
We know that all families experience crises. But in some families, crisis is fueled by common root causes that lead to homelessness: poverty, racism, homophobia, and underfunded systems of foster care, behavioral health, and education.
Of the 1,500 homeless youth and young adults in King County approximately:
3 of 5 are youth of color systemic racism denies people of color equal access to housing and income
1/3 have been in foster care and leave without a stable place to call home
1/3 are kicked out of their homes because of abuse, family, conflict, or poverty
1/3 identify as LGBTQ+ many are kicked out for coming out
1/2 are navigating mental health challenges with limited access to resources needed to thrive
How many young people are homeless?
Approximately 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness every year in the U.S. That amounts to one in ten young adults ages 18-25 and one in thirty youth ages 13-17. In King County, at least 1,500 young people experience homelessness on any given night and three-quarters of those young people sleep outside because of lack of shelter or housing.
Why is youth homelessness unique?
Youth homelessness is different than adult homelessness; young people often couch-surf between friends and family and many do not identify as homeless. Homeless young people are at higher risk of exploitation and trafficking on the streets: about one-fifth of homeless youth report being trafficked and over one-third experience violence or assault. Additionally, young people’s brains are still rapidly developing and don’t reach maturation until the age of 25. For this reason, the adult homeless system is often unsafe and inappropriate for young adults.
Why is your support important?
Every young person has potential. For youth in particular, there is an inherent curiosity about the future and the possibilities of life. We must leverage this opportunity. Almost 50% of homeless adults in our community reference experiencing homelessness for the first time before the age of 25. Helping young people move ahead is our most effective—and humane—strategy to preventing and ending adult homelessness.
Your generous support helps young people achieve long-term stability. Click here to make a gift.