Tag Archives: juvenile

“Why Would Someone Chose Homeless” – Homeless 17 Year Old Girl

Meet “Alice”, Homeless Girl now 17 in Canada

Her words (she went homeless before 16) – She is older than her days:

“Why would someone choose to be transient or homeless? The world is a vast, ruined empire- It is void of any true meaning with all our responsibilities being entirely superficial, and we have created imaginary borders and priced things that belong to no one such as our land. The surrounding materialism weighs us down, makes us weary: It is a distraction that is malignant.

“Being homeless is an entirely separate dimension from this society, an alternate community- There is a completely different set of rules, way of life, and sense of normality. Once you have adjusted to homelessness, it can be very difficult to turn around and work your way back into the ‘Real World’; it becomes frustrating and lonely when you have to abide by a new social code and people are intolerant of your mannerisms.

“It’s like walking into a new country where you know nothing of the current customs, are baffled by people’s beliefs and gestures, and are confused by the tongue spoken. At a time, you just want to break free and separate yourself: You want to listen to your heart, and not found yourself on stability or comfort.

“There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you walk away from your home with nothing but what’s in your pockets, and with no intention of returning.

“When homeless or transient, especially when you’re on drugs, life becomes a journey rather than an endless cycle. You lose your sense of time, not knowing the date and having only a vague idea of what stage of day it is; you spend your money on your present needs and desires rather than on future possibilities. When you’re high, it’s all about the small things in life; there’s no interest in the future and no care for the bigger picture. No one and nothing, yet everyone and everything, is cool. You’re content with no yearning desires. Life is all about warm, sunny afternoons on the cliff admiring the view and soaking in the calm, altogether uninhibited, and liberated on crack rocks- Free to speak your mind with no prejudices, free to be with no boundaries.

“However, I would support (the assertion) that children don’t become homeless merely because they dislike school or their family rules; rather, I think there is a much larger picture. Any kind of sufferance can be deepened when you love and care for the person hurting you; fear and confusion in childhood can make a claustrophobic teenager; and boredom can result in frustration and anxiety.

“Life on the streets is without any doubt a constant struggle and the average youngster would return home to comfort rather than hold out on the street if he didn’t have a strong and viable reason. His home and his life would have to represent a lot of pain and anger to keep him away for long; and he would have to have deep-rooted feelings of hatred and fear of the system to keep him there.

“Children who have been abused and neglected, then let down by their social workers and teachers, as well as nurses and police officers; children who have been drained through years of needless counselling then tossed from hospital to hospital like a nun; children who were kept isolated, then were physically and emotionally hurt when they attempted to connect.”

The above is a copy of a post by “Alice” which is not even her real screen name, but she is a real homeless person, trying to tell us a little about what it is like.   It may give you at least a little insight into the thinking of a young homeless girl. 

There are places to call, such as the National Runaway Switchboard or 2-1-1 anywhere in the country.   The link to the NRS is in the right column.  The idea is to get these youngsters help before they run away or get thrown away.   If your child is at risk or harboring a friend that would be on the streets without your help, get professionals involved… NOW.

Kids are out there too…

Do you hear a cry for help?

Click for all Homeless Youth Articles

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Oldtimer

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Las Vegas Homeless Youth Survey

More than 1,700 kids homeless in Vegas

The data for this post came from this news story:  Las Vegas Homeless Youth Survey

 A survey of homeless youth in Las Vegas in 2006 revealed that of the 1700 kids living in Vegas:

75-percent are between the ages of 15 and 17.
25-percent were born in Las Vegas.
66-percent have parents still living in the valley.

Runaways – One out of three homeless teens say they left home to escape physical, sexual or mental abuse. 

Throwaways – More than one out of five were kicked out by their parents

Gangs – More than a third are involved with gangs.

                                                                                                          

 Love, Pure Love

It is so very unfortunate that so many kids find the streets more hospitable than their homes.   It is a rough life out there and most kids don’t know what they are getting into.  Many do go back home, and too many are driven away again.   What they want is love, what they get is trouble.  They have a love well that is empty, and what they often find is what they left, someone digging that well deeper rather than filling it up.

Parents seldom recognize that a child might actually run away rather than just threaten.  

 I can tell you this:  when a child shows any emotional signs of distress or rebellion or becomes surly and possibly depressed, it is time to turn on the love.  Pure love, no comments, no criticism, no questions, no reaction to anything the child says other than love.  A big hug, a giant hug, a verbal commitment:  “I love you son.”  “I’m here for you son.” 

Meet them at the door with a hug, see them off with a hug, give no response to cutting remarks other than “I love you.”  

If your child begins to taunt you and you snap back in kind or threaten, then you are driving a wedge that will be hard to remove.   The only answer to taunts is love – nothing said other than “I love you son” or “I love you daughter”.   In less than two days, your child will come around.   Their first reaction is to stare, then to test, then to question, then to melt.  

Love, pure love is the answer.

More on this later.  I have a first person account for you.

Oldtimer

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Youth Homelessness Defined

Many states use the following, or very similar descriptions as guidelines to determine those situations in which a child or youth can be considered homeless:

A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter for the homeless (including family shelters, runaway youth shelters, and domestic violence shelters);

A child or youth sleeps at night in the home of a friend or relative because the child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence;

A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter awaiting institutionalization, adoption, foster care, or other placement;

Runaway chldren or children who are abandoned; or,

A child or youth sleeps at night in a car, tent, an abandoned building, or other place not ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings.  Migratory children and unaccompanied youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) may be considered homeless if they meet the above definition.

Notice that educators must make a subjective decision about whether a child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence.  This requires that an educator must make a judgment based on the specific circumstances of a child or youth’s living situation.

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for all the homeless youth articles

Note: this information is available on most school and state websites with slight variations.   The above was combined from three such websites.

Understanding And Preventing Teenage Runaways

In looking across the web for advice on troubled teens, I found this useful article.  It has good advice!    Only the opening paragraph and the topics are reproduced here, but there is a link at the bottom for the entire article.

One of the greatest fears that parents can experience comes when they discover that their child is missing or has run away. Parents will experience a range of emotions. The stress of the situation and the different ways in which parents, family, friends and police respond can reach crisis proportions and create further crisis within a family.

The Difference Between a Runaway Child and a Missing Child

Motivations of a Runaway

Warning Signs of a Potential Runaway.

Communication That Helps Prevent Runaways

Steps You Can Take That Will Help Reduce the Risk of a Runaway

Note: this is a long and well written article that may be able to help you understand and help your troubled teen.   I am in no way recommending this site other than for you to read the information in this article.  Although I find no fault with the underlying site, I have no way of determining its credibility.   You are missing the greater part of the above article  unless you Click Here .  

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

The Top 10 Reasons Why Kids Have Run Away

Rebecca's CommunityThis list was prepared by Dominic Mapstone, founder of Rebecca’s Community, which provides shelter and services for homeless and runaway youth in Sydney Austrailia.    He also founded the International Homeless Forum.The Rebecca’s Community Website is hereYou can find this list here:You can find the homeless forum here: (Dominic’s audience is kids who come to Rebecca’s Community website  for information)
The Top 10 reasons why other kids have run away are:

1. Kicked out – Mostly the reason why kids leave home isn’t because they ‘runaway,’ it is because they get kicked out.
2. Sexual Abuse – someone in your house is made to do sexual things, maybe you.
3. Violence – someone in your house gets hurt a lot, maybe you.
4. Alcohol or Drugs – someone in your house drinks alcohol lots or uses drugs to get high.
5. Verbal Abuse – people yell or scream at you all the time.
6. Neglect – you don’t get basic stuff other kids do, like food or it may be as if you aren’t even there and no one cares about you.
7. Crime – someone in your house does crime like stealing from people or beating them up.
8. Stress – someone is always on your case putting pressure on you to do something all the time like cleaning up or doing your homework.
9. School – you get bullied at school and can’t put up with it anymore or you get in really big trouble at school and just can’t go home because of what might happen when your parents find out.
10. Someone is Gone – this could be because they died, or your parents get divorced or separated. It also could be an older brother or sister moved out of home.

If you know of an at-risk kid or a runaway kid, try to point him/her to the Rebecca’s Community website (link above) or the Runaway Switchboard or call the switchboard at 1 800 RUNAWAY.  (Rebecca’s Community and Runaway Switchboard are unrelated organizaitons).

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

Homeless Youth and Drugs – In a Street Kid’s Own Words

To zone in on the problem, let me introduce you to a 17 year old girl, currently hom

This is a real person posting on a homeless forum. She lives in Australia. I suspect other than the street name for paint sniffing (“chromers”), the problem is the same anywhere in the US.   I’ve changed her screen name to protect her privacy even more.

“Sally” is discussing homelessness with other homeless people.

Quote:

“On the streets drugs are all around you, always being offered to you, people always walkin around smashed.  I’d like to see anyone live on the streets and not take drugs at some point, I really do think that’s impossible.  

Hey, I don’t like drugs, but sometimes it’s really hard not to take them.  Most people on the streets have some degree of depression, and sometimes your resilience gets low.  Amongst the homeless youth population in Brisbane I think the main substance of choice is paint. Cheap, easy to nick, and a quick high.

When you’re feeling like s— and all your friends are sniffing and trying to get you to, offering you fills, and life is crap for you at that point, it’s very hard not to just give in and take it.  Sure, it kills your brain cells, but who cares about that when you’ve got nothing much to live for anyway?

“You say you can’t stand it, but I don’t think you really understand what it’s like to be on the streets, what those kids who sniff have gone through, what they’re trying to escape from by getting high.  These kids cope with life BY sniffing.  That’s how they get through. And sometimes that’s how I get through too.

“I’m not going to get addicted to it, I won’t let myself, and I know there are other ways of coping, but when paint is pushed on you when you’re feeling down it’s very easy to just get high.

“Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but I hate how lots of people out there just think that kids who sniff are just a bunch of trouble makers running around mugging people and ruining their own lives, without stopping to think about the s— they’ve gone through to be sniffing in the first place, about whether if they were in those kids position they would be able to stop themselves sniffing.  Not that I’m saying that you think that about sniffers.”

Are drugs a problem for homeless youth? You bet, and we need to get these kids off the streets.  Sally is in a shelter now.  In later posts she is going through detox, so her protestation abut not going to get addicted is in vain.  

You will find a link to the homeless forums in the right hand column.  Anyone can read, anyone can join.  Free, and a real education.

Mayo Clinic LogoFor information you can give your kids about paint inhalants: Mayo Clinic.

This article is only one of more than 30 posts on homeless youth .  In addition there are more than 60 homeless veteran articles.   If you are interested in more, click one of these links.  Thank you for coming by.  Please consider adding me to your feed (see link below my picture.)  

Oldtimer

Homelessness Among Children and Youth – Basic Facts

Homeless Baby Activity CenterDid you know that children make up 39% of the homeless population and 42% of these children are under 5 years of age?   (Note the baby activity center in the homeless camp picture ).  Children under about 12-14 are most often part of a homeless family, usually with only one parent present.   There have been instances of children as young as 9 living on the streets without any relative present, but thankfully,  below about 13, it is rare.  

According to state departments of education across the country, 35% of homeless children lived in shelters, 34% were in group situations with family or friends, and 23% were in motels or other places in 2000. 

Homeless children and youth face a number of problems.  These include developmental problems, abuse and neglect, lack of effective education,  among others.     The National Law Center created a report in June 2006 summarizing basic facts about our homeless youngsters.  

The data mentioned here can be found in its entirity here (5 pages plus 4 pages of citations): 

Developmental Problems

Lack of a stable living situation can be mentally and physically harmful to children and youth.

Homeless infants are four times more likely to require special care at birth than other infants.   Toddlers who are homeless usually develop at a slower pace than those who have stable homes.   Homeless children are twice as likely to have a learning disability and are three times more likely than other children to have emotional or behavioral problems

33% of runaway youth state it was because of sexual abuse, while 50% report it was due to physical abuse.   Sheltered homeless children have twice as many ear infections, five times more gastrointestinal problems, six times as many speech problems, and four times as many have asthma.  

 Abuse and Neglect

25% of the adult homeless population report having experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as a child by someone with whom they lived.   Homeless children are physically abused at twice the rate of other children.  

33% of the adult homeless population report running away from home as children and  27% report living in foster care or in a group home.    22% of the homeless population report being forced to leave home.

21% of the adult homeless population experience homelessness during childhood.  Homeless children are three times as likely to have been sexually abused as other children.

Lack of Education Perpetuates Homelessness

    38% of adult homeless individuals do not have a high school degree by age 18 and 53% report having dropped out of either elementary, middle, or high school for an indefinite period of time.   18% of the homeless population say they were expelled from school and only 62% of the homeless population have a high school diploma.