Is Life tough? Ask youth who are experiencing homelessness. You will feel blessed because you have so much that others are missing completely.
This morning, at the start of spring and heavy snow, I left for the office at 5 am to supervise our delivery crew unloading the newspapers. That’s how media houses work– they don’t care about the weather or the situation, they do what they are supposed to do. While I was few blocks away from my office, I saw a young man on the street, probably fourteen years old, asking for a change (money) for breakfast.
He is not the only unfortunate person experiencing homelessness, there are plenty of youth who are experiencing homelessness and are on the streets. A 2017 study shows that there are 4.2 million adolescents and young adults in the U.S who are experiencing homelessness. Isn’t that strange?
Why are these young souls experiencing homelessness and are on the streets? There are countless reasons and some have major contributions. If these issues are controlled, I am sure that we will reduce the figure of 4.2 million to a great extent.
Let’s start from the commercialization of real estate that happened decades ago – which has increased rent so high that if you don’t go to work for one week, you are not able to pay the rent. Speaking for myself, more than fifty percent of my income directly goes to my landlord, which is insane.
These high rents have made many parents incapable of taking care of their children because they themselves are experiencing homelessness. When parents are homeless, their kids will obviously be homeless.
Unfortunately, domestic violence, lack of parents’ economic stability, single parenthood, individualistic culture, sexual harassment and abuse, lack of proper care in foster homes, aging out, have all contributed a lot to youth homelessness, and have remained the main reasons of youth on the streets.
Youth experiencing homelessness are faced with severe issues such as mental trauma, sexual abuse and sex trafficking, lack of mental health, lacking the ability to continue their education, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, health issues, and safety. They are more vulnerable to a vast majority of problems that can ruin their lives. A study shows that approximately 5,000 youth die every year while experiencing homeless due to their various vulnerabilities.
In a society where everyone is so curious about their education, health, lifestyle, professional grooming, and career, and then 4.2 million are totally deprived of education, health, professional grooming, and career, makes a big difference, but, unfortunately, a negative difference.
If these 4.2 million youths were provided with reasonable housing, educational and professional opportunities, they would have contributed a lot to the betterment of the country.
This is the time for government, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to further their efforts to minimize youth homelessness, but, the question is, who is going to start this serious effort?