According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority 2020 Homeless Count, there are approximately 4,673 homeless youth on the streets of LA County on any given night.
Young people find themselves homeless or at-risk of homelessness through no fault of their own, and they are among the marginalized and under-served youth in our community. The youth that we serve at Safe Place for Youth are diverse, yet they share many common pathways into homelessness. When asked how they became homeless, 59% had either been kicked out by a parent or caregiver; runaway from unbearable home environments that include physical and/or sexual abuse, homophobia or transphobia, parental mental illness or substance abuse, and 23% reported previous involvement in the foster care system.
Youth experiencing homelessness deal with a complex set of issues related to disconnection from family and community, abuse and neglect, significant past trauma, grief and loss, mental illness, and criminalization. This typically translates into few prospects for education, employment or social participation and can manifest into psychological distress and trauma.
As one of the fastest growing homeless populations, transitional-aged youth require unique housing and support services that are responsive to their developmental needs as young adults as they learn to care for themselves, gain life experience and transition to adulthood.