Shining a Spotlight on National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
Every year in November, New Pathways for Youth and others all across the United States recognize National Homeless Youth Awareness Month (NHYAM), a crucial initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of homeless youth and advocating for their well-being. This month-long observance serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by thousands of young people who lack a safe and stable place to call home.
Estimates on the number of youth experiencing homelessness vary from organization to organization due to varying definitions of homelessness and challenges with contacting unhoused people, particularly unhoused youth. The National Alliance to End Homelessness, an estimated 1.3 million youth experience homelessness each year in the United States. The National Conference of State Legislators puts the number at 4.1 million — 700,000 of which are unaccompanied minors. These young individuals face a multitude of hardships, including exposure to trauma, violence, and substance abuse. They often struggle with their mental health, educational setbacks, and limited employment opportunities.
NHYAM provides a platform to amplify the voices of homeless youth and highlight the resources available to support them. It encourages communities, organizations, and individuals to take action and contribute to efforts that prevent and end youth homelessness.
How You Can Make a Difference
There are numerous ways to get involved and make a positive impact during NHYAM and beyond. Here are some suggestions:
- Educate yourself and others about the issue of youth homelessness. Understanding the root causes and challenges faced by homeless youth is essential for developing effective solutions.
- Volunteer your time or donate to organizations that provide support services to homeless youth. These organizations rely on the generosity of volunteers and donors to continue their vital work.
- Advocate for policies that promote affordable housing, education, and healthcare for all youth. Addressing these critical needs can help prevent youth homelessness and provide pathways to stability.
National Resources for Homeless Youth
- National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929)
- Covenant House
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of homeless youth. By raising awareness, advocating for change, and providing support, we can help break the cycle of homelessness and empower these young individuals to achieve their full potential.
Here are some local resources in Phoenix, AZ for homeless youth:
- Native American Connections HomeBase Youth Services: This organization provides transitional and emergency housing, as well as support services, to homeless youth in Phoenix.
- Homeless Youth Connection: This organization provides a variety of services to homeless youth in Phoenix, including housing, food, clothing, and education.
- UMOM NEW DAY CENTERS: This organization provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and support services to homeless families and individuals in Phoenix.
- Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS): This organization provides a variety of services to homeless individuals and families in Phoenix, including emergency shelter, transitional housing, and support services.
- Lodestar Day Resource Center: This organization provides a safe and supportive environment for homeless youth in Phoenix, where they can access a variety of services, including food, clothing, showers, and laundry.
These are just a few of the many resources available to homeless youth in Phoenix, AZ. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please reach out to one of these organizations. If you are a part of the New Pathways for Youth program, you can also reach out to your Program Coordinator who can connect you to resources that are the right fit.