A Call to Action: Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness in California

Published on October 12, 2017

The mission of the California Coalition for Youth is to empower and improve the lives of California’s youth. In line with this, the California Coalition for Youth created the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) as an opportunity for youth (ages 12-24) to get involved in their local and state communities. With this in mind, this space is meant to provide the YAB as well as other youth or youth supporters a chance to share their opinions on current events, creative content or anything similar and relevant.

We invite everyone including readers to submit content and ideas for this space on a continuous basis.

Los Angeles – Yesterday, California State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio held a joint informational hearing at the Los Angeles LGBT Center to discuss the causes of homelessness among youth and young adults and the need for solutions, including funding, to get young people off the streets.

Members from the California Coalition for Youth testified before the committee on the causes of homelessness amongst youth, with family rejection and poverty being significant causes, as well as on the solutions needed to address the growing crisis.  Research shows that 20-40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.  Out of those youth, 40% cite family rejection as the primary reason for their homelessness.

California had the highest number of youth experiencing homelessness in the United States with 11,222 unaccompanied youth and young adults on a single night during the 2016 point-in-time count, and nearly 80% of those youth are unsheltered.  Early numbers from the 2017 count reflected nearly 15,206 homeless youth and young adults—that’s more than UC Berkeley’s entire incoming class this fall.

“Fifty percent of chronically homeless people had their first homeless experience when they were youth,” stated Sherilyn Adams of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. “You want to stop chronic homelessness? Solve youth homelessness.”

CCY released “A Call to Action: Prevent and End Youth Homelessness in California” at the hearing outlining its plan for how the state can make youth homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.  California’s current efforts to address youth homelessness aren’t enough, and the Call to Action outlines a model to change course that will move the needle for these young people through the creation of an Office of Youth Homelessness charged with and held accountable for coordinating stakeholders, policies, and funding streams to provide resources to each county for prevention and early intervention support services, low barrier and diverse housing opportunities, and post-housing and follow-up services.

Youth homelessness is unacceptable, and it is a solvable crisis.

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