Creative Community Responses to Youth Homelessness

Youth homelessness in the United States is an under-reported crisis.

The statistics are truly startling. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as many as 1.6 million children are presently homeless.

In Minnesota where I am a youth worker there are over 4,000 youth 16-21 experiencing homelessness on any given night. Youth-specific shelter beds in Minnesota are limited to 139; there are 419 transitional living units for the same population, leaving 3,502 youth without stable housing.

Youth homelessness is not just an urban problem. Suburban and rural communities throughout the country struggle to provide supports to young people experiencing housing instability. Many youth migrate to urban areas where services are more abundant, forcing them to navigate unfamiliar streets and leaving them much more vulnerable.