Every night in America, there are thousands of youth experiencing homelessness – living in cars, vacant buildings, or couch hopping with friends and families, or staying in places not meant for human habitation. Youth experiencing homelessness are not typically seen on the streets or in shelters, often being referred to as invisible and being undercounted by government and human service agencies. Despite their houselessness, they are often doing their best to go to work or school each day.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness:
- On a single night in 2019, 35,038 unaccompanied youth were counted as homeless. Of those, 89 percent were between the ages of 18 to 24. The remaining 11 percent (or 3,976 unaccompanied children) were under the age of 18.
- 50 percent of homeless youth are unsheltered — sleeping outside, in a car, or some place not meant for human habitation.
- The Alliance estimates that over the course of a year, approximately 550,000 unaccompanied youth and young adults up to age 24 experience a homelessness episode of longer than one week. More than half are under the age of 18.
Currently, there are over 200 unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness in Frederick County. Throughout the state, there are a shortage of youth-centric housing programs which centralize the unique needs of youth and young adults to exit homelessness and find stable, secure housing. Without safe and permanent housing and caring connections with adults, unaccompanied homeless youth are at an even greater risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors or finding themselves in unsafe situations.
There is a lot of incredible work happening to end youth homelessness across the state and country. Learn more about some of those efforts here: