Youth Homelessness: Barriers and Strengths - MESH-MN

Youth Homelessness:
Barriers and Strengths
•C A S E S T U D Y / S M A L L G R O U P A C T I V I T Y
•C O M M O N R E A S O N S F O R Y O U T H H O M E L E S S N E S S
•B A R R I E R S F A C E D B Y H O M E L E S S Y O U T H
•S T R E N G T H B A S E D A P P R O A C H T O W O R K I N G W I T H
•R E S O U R C E S
Jennifer M. Lock, MS
Homeless Youth
According to the Wilder Research Center’s 2009 survey on
Homelessness in Minnesota,
The number of homeless youth (12-21) grew by 46% between 2006 and
The number of homeless youth (18-21) grew by 57% during that same
time period- the largest growth of any age group surveyed
Every night there are approximately 2,500 youth without a safe place to
stay in the state of MN
Youth come from Urban. Suburban and Rural areas
Case Study/Small Group Activity
 Work with the other people at your table to answer
the following questions about the youth in your case
What barriers is this youth facing?
What strengths/resources does this youth already have?
What services would you recommend this youth find or
Common Reasons for Youth Homelessness
 Parent, family mental illness or chemical
Aging out of Foster Care or the Juvenile Justice
Family Conflict or Overcrowding
Escaping from Abusive or Unsafe Family Situation
Family Homelessness due to Eviction or Foreclosure
Become pregnant
GLBT Specific Barriers and Services
 Nationally, somewhere between 20-40% of homeless youth
identify as GLBT
GLBT identified youth are often hesitant to use shelter services,
not knowing whether shelter staff will be judgmental or lack
skills to work with them
Transgender youth in particular struggle in the shelter system,
shelters may not have single rooms for youth and may not know
whether to put a trans youth in a “male” or “female” dorm room
GLBT Host Home Program specifically works with GLBT
Identified youth, housing them in host homes with GLBT or
allied adults, only serves up to 10 youth at a time
TYSN (Trans Youth Support Network) provides a safe space for
transgender youth and many activities
Barriers for Homeless Youth
 Educational Barriers
Barriers for Homeless Youth
 Employment
Barriers for Homeless Youth
 Youth are more likely than adults to be victimized in
adult shelters
 Only a handful of shelters designated for youth, fewer
than 100 beds specifically for youth under 21 in the
metro area
 Fewer than 400 transitional living beds in the state
Strengths Based Approach to Working with
Homeless Youth
 Trust Building
 Harm Reduction
 Acknowledging Resiliency
 Youth can easily tell if you are judging them or their
choices, being nonjudgmental is essential
Resources for Homeless Youth
 Street Outreach
 Drop-In Centers/Case Management:
Safe Zone, YouthLink, Oasis for Youth
 Youth Specific Shelters:
Ain Dah Yung, Avenues for Homeless Youth, Booth Brown, The
Bridge, Hope Street, Life Haven, Safe House
 Other Housing Programs:
GLBT , Minneapolis and Suburban Host Home Programs
Transitional Living Programs like Archdale, St. Barnabas, LSS,
Hope Street, Nicollet Square, Lindquist Apartments, the Youth
How to Get a Young Person into Shelter:
Call as soon as you know your youth needs
a bed.
2. Check back throughout the day.
3. If the youth calls every morning, they
should get a bed within three weeks.

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