Each year, 3.5 million individuals are homeless in America. Children and teens total 1.3 million. All homeless youth combined make up the 6th largest city in America, a metropolis about the size of Phoenix, AZ. Becoming more aware, understanding the facts and the demographics of the homeless can motivate even the most hard-hearted to open their pockets and their hearts to this group of forgotten Americans. Consider the following:
- This year, 1 in 8 American youth under the age of 18 will leave home and become homeless in need of charity and social services.
- 12-17 year olds are at more risk of homelessness than are adults.
- In 2004, child protective services agencies reported an estimated 872,000 children to be victims of child abuse or neglect.
- 43% of homeless youth report being beaten by a caretaker.
- 40% report being gay and abused in their schools and homes for their orientation.
- 44% of homeless youth report that one or both of their parents had at some point received treatment for alcohol, drug, or psychological problems.
- Almost half of homeless youth have witnessed domestic violence.
- Nearly 93,000 people are estimated to be homeless each night in Los Angeles County - the largest homeless population in the nation for any major metropolitan area.
- In a city with high poverty districts such as Los Angeles, one in three youth reside in a household that is below the poverty level.
- By the time homeless children are eight years old one in three has a major mental disorder.
- The prevalence rate for substance use disorders among homeless youth is 85%.
- 1/3 of homeless teens have witnessed a stabbing, shooting, rape or murder.
- Youth Homelessness Begins a Cycle of Chronic Homelessness.
- 25% of the adult homeless population report having experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as a child from someone with whom they lived.
More at www.myfriendsplace.org