Whether it’s couch surfing, sleeping in a car or living in a friend’s storage shed, homelessness among youth and young adults takes many forms. These youths are suffering. Yet, there has been very little research into scale, scope, and urgency of youth homelessness in America.

Until now.

The Chapin Hall research center at the University of Chicago has just released a first-of-its-kind study titled, Voices of Youth Count. Their key findings include:

  • Youth with less than a HS diploma or GED are 346% more likely to experience homelessness.
  • Unmarried youth parenting children of their own face a 200% higher risk.
  • Youth in poverty, with an annual income of less than $24,000, have a 162% higher risk.

The Voices study also found what we at UMOM have known for a long time: children who experience homelessness within the family are far more likely to become homeless adults.

Early intervention is essential to preventing adult homelessness – that’s why UMOM has, for many years, been using a two-generational approach for the families and children we serve.

When a family comes to us, we treat each person – parents and children – as an individual, and tailor our programming to fit their specific needs.

UMOM CEO Darlene Newsom said, “Through our Child Development Center on the main campus, we assess children for their development status, then match them with interventions that enhance their ability to learn and to stay in school. For the parents, we may work on anything from budgeting to transportation to job training. The goal is to get the entire family on the path to stable, permanent housing.”

What can you do to help?

First, read the study to learn more about the issue. Here are links to the one-page summary and the full report. For more information, please visit the Voices of Youth Count website.

Second, you can take action by being in touch with your congressional delegation. Find more information on our Advocacy page.

And return here as often as you can – we will continue to do our very best to keep you up-to-date on the issues related to homelessness here in Arizona.