Understanding Youth Homelessness

“I used to be homeless 9 years ago. I slept on church porches and other alleyways in & around UT. I was a runaway. LifeWorks helped me acquire my GED. Talking with the volunteers & counselors really made an impact and encouraged me to get off the streets.

Since getting help from LifeWorks I served two 10-month terms in AmeriCorps* National Civilian Community Corps. I traveled the eastern US and volunteered at various local non-profits. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. My life has completely changed because of it. Now I live in North Austin. I am a student at UT, studying Economics. I am focusing my major around non-profit organizations and will eventually lead a career in the non-profit sector. Thank you for making such a positive impact on my life.” -Eve

Nationwide, up to 1.6 million youth are homeless every year. More than half a million of them will not receive the critical help they need to be safe and healthy and find a way off the streets. The problem is profound in this community. On any given night, up to 500 unaccompanied youth are homeless in Travis County.

Life on the Streets
Homeless street youth and young adults have become a constant in cities across the country. They constitute a distinct and recognizable subculture within the homeless population.

These youth are among our community’s most vulnerable citizens. Youth often cite physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse as reasons for leaving home. Studies across the country show that homeless youth and young adults are susceptible to depression, suicide, prostitution, drug use, and disease.

Many homeless youth and young adults are in situations that put them at high risk for HIV/AIDS, STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and violence. Still, they often describe feeling safer on the street than they did in their own homes.

How We Help
LifeWorks Street Outreach helps runaway and homeless youth and young adults by providing basic needs items, access to community resources, and support to empower them to lead healthy productive lives of their choice. The Street Outreach Program is the first step in LifeWorks continuum of services for runaway and homeless youth. LifeWorks operates Travis County’s only walk-in Emergency Shelter for youth. Residents may move on to the Transitional Living Program while they finish school, and graduate to the Supportive Housing Program. Each program offers the full range of LifeWorks support services, including case management, counseling, and education programs.

Learn more about how LifeWorks helps Austin’s homeless youth by attending today’s (Friday, November 19, 2010) Understanding Youth Homelessness Event at the LifeWorks Street Outreach Drop-In Center, 408 West 23rd Street Austin, TX 78705. Come by between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm this evening! For more info about today’s event, visit http://www.hhweekaustin.com/youth-a-families.

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