National Homeless Youth Awareness Month was declared by the House and Senate in 2007 and serves as an outlet to increase public awareness of an ongoing issue occurring in every city across the United States.
Each year more than 1.5 million children are homeless during some point, and that number is increasing. Many homeless youth—in addition to losing their home, community, friends, and routines as well as their sense of stability and safety—may be victims of past trauma. While trying to survive on the streets, youth are exposed to countless dangers, with an increased likelihood of substance abuse, early parenthood, impulsivity, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and a vulnerability to being trafficked.
In support of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is providing resources to help communities, educators, families, policy makers, advocates, and mental health and child welfare professionals better understand and deal with homeless youth.
Every day 13 kids die on the streets throughout the US. In Orange County alone there is an estimated 26,000 homeless youth. Non-profit organizations, such as STANDUP FOR KIDS, are working towards decreasing the number of homeless youth on the streets. Founded in 1990, STANDUP FOR KIDS is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless and at-risk youth by providing them with access to health services, life skills training and basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released the nation’s first plan to prevent and end homelessness through their Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The 74 page document states the goals for ending homelessness in ten years. The U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs will work together to provide resources to homeless youth.