The Relatives’ Family Update – January 2018
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The Relatives Addresses Needs
Documented in Groundbreaking Homelessness Study
Voices of Youth Count, an initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, recently released a first-of-its kind study on unaccompanied youth homelessness in America. In 2008, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) advocated that Congress require and fund this study as part of the re-authorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
“This groundbreaking study confirms what we see every day at The Relatives: most people don’t understand the pervasiveness of youth homelessness in our country,” said Trish Hobson, President of The Relatives, a system of resources that help children and youth find shelter and support in Charlotte, NC. “If youth aren’t at shelters or on the streets, most people don’t see the problem or understand the need,” she added.
The study, “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America,” broadly captures the scope of the issue by harnessing data from young people who have slept on the streets or in shelters, ran away from or were kicked out of their homes, or couch surfed – staying temporarily with friends and family.
Specifically, Missed Opportunities found that:
- 2 million young people experienced homelessness in America over a 12-month period – 1 in 10 young adults aged 18-25, or 3.5 million young people, and at least 1 in 30 youth aged 13-17, or 700,000 adolescents minors, experienced some form of homelessness unaccompanied by a parent or guardian over the course of a year. Furthermore, one in three homeless young women are pregnant or parenting.
- Nearly three-quarters of youth included were couch surfing or otherwise staying with others while lacking a home of their own. These experiences are the most invisible. Previous research shows that couch surfing generally takes place early in people’s struggles with homelessness, with sleeping more on the streets happening at later stages of homelessness.
- The lack of a high school diploma or GED was the most strongly correlated with higher risk for youth homelessness. Those without these had a 3.5 times higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness than peers who completed high school.
The findings in this report shows that homelessness among youth and young adults is far more pervasive than officials recognize and occurs in rural and urban communities alike. The face of homelessness among young people is varied and complex.
For too long, outdated definitions and program requirements from federal agencies like HUD have restricted the services and resources available to young people experiencing these varied forms of homelessness. Children and young adults are incredibly vulnerable in these situations and should be able to access the services and housing they need to avoid or exit homelessness, no matter what form it takes.
Prevention and early intervention are essential. Half of the youth who experienced homelessness in the past year did so for the first time. Most adults who become homeless were first homeless before the age of 25. If the cycle can be stopped there, chronic adult homelessness can be prevented and real opportunities for young people to reach their fullest potential can be provided.
“At The Relatives, we are addressing these very issues. Locally in 2017, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reported that 4,700 students were homeless and the point-in-time count found that on one night in January, 1,476 people were experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg,” said Hobson. “Our Youth Crisis Center, On Ramp resource center and Journey Place transitional residence play a vital role in helping youth experiencing homelessness before they end up in the shelters or on the streets. Each year, The Relatives serves close to 5,000 youth. Since the inception of our housing program we have housed 19 young adults and since 2016 we have helped 311 young adults obtain employment.
Read the Report from Chapin Hall: http://voicesofyouthcount.org
More from NN4Y on the Report: https://www.nn4youth.org/2017/11/15/groundbreakingreportonyouthhomelessness
Grateful this holiday season
The Relatives was astounded at the overwhelming response to the holiday season wish list. This holiday season we were blessed to have so many of our supporters spread the joy to the youth and young adults we serve.Volunteers helped us ensure that our meal calendar was completely full during the months of November and December and, because of so many in-kind donations, we were able to provide a gift to all of our clients, including this year the 17 young adults in our housing program.
2018 Point in Time Count
The 2018 Point-in-Time Count will take place on January 31, 2018. This is when our community comes together to survey and count each person experiencing homelessness on one night. Counting is critical to understand the scope of the problem. The Point-in-Time Count provides the only way we collect information about unsheltered homelessness in the community which has risen steadily since 2014.
To learn more about this important event in our community, visit the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard website.
Get Your Tickets
We are thrilled, for the second year, to be a benefiting charity of Charlotte Wine & Food. Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend brings together leading wine makers and chefs from around the world to celebrate and advance public knowledge of and appreciation for great wine and food, while making significant contributions to charitable organizations that benefit children and their families in the Charlotte community.
This year the weekend will take place April 18 – April 21 and tickets can be purchased on their website.
Safe Place Week
The Relatives is the Safe Place agency for Mecklenburg County. The Safe Place program extends The Relatives’ reach to more youth, and it gives youth-friendly locations the opportunity to share in creating a community where youth have easy access to safety when they need it. and goodwill.
Each year we celebrate Safe Place Week to help grow awareness about this important program in our community by hosting events throughout the week and end the week with our Annual Roberts Walk.
Click here to learn more about Safe Place.