[Hpn] Homeless youths' woes are complex, study finds;Minnesota;10/11/01

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Thu, 11 Oct 2001 12:42:14 -0400

Below is a forward of an article which may be of interest. Following that 
are Web addresses for those seeking additional information.


-------Forwarded article-------

Thursday, October 11, 2001
Duluth News Tribune <http://web.duluthnews.com>
Local & State News section
Homeless youths' woes are complex, study finds


At the mall, in classrooms and on the streets around the state, homeless 
young people may look no different than any other youths. But what is clear, 
according to a report issued today by the Wilder Research Center, is that 
for some, going home is seldom the answer.

Who these youngsters are and why they are on their own with no accompanying 
adult or permanent home is detailed in the 427-page report drawing on 209 
interviews with homeless youth from across Minnesota. The youth interviews 
are part of the statewide survey of homeless people Wilder conducted in 
October 2000, and has carried out every three years since 1991.

Youths 17 and younger were interviewed with the help of youth service 
providers throughout the state. The average interviewee was a 15-year-old 
who began living on his or her own at age 13. Seventy-one percent had been 
homeless for at least a month. About one-fourth of them had not had a 
"regular'' place to live for more than a year.

"Not long ago these youth might have been thought of simply as runaways, and 
the solution was for them to just go home. It's rarely that simple,'' said 
report researcher Greg Owen. "This population has a high a representation of 
damaged kids from damaged environments,'' he said.

The youths say they cannot go home because an adult in the home will not 
allow it, there are chemical dependency problems in the home, there is 
neglect, there is physical or sexual abuse, or there is not room for them 
there. Many have lived in foster care or a detention or treatment center. 
The report says that compared to the general Minnesota youth population, 
these homeless kids were:

Five times more likely to have been treated for drug or alcohol problems.

Three to four times more likely to have been physically or sexually abused.

Three times more likely to use cigarettes or other tobacco.

Two to three times more likely to have lived in a single-parent home.

About twice as likely to have attempted suicide.

Among girls, 13 times more likely to have been pregnant.

Youth of color are three to four times more prevalent among the homeless 
than among the general youth population.

One of eight of those interviewed said they had traded sex for shelter, 
food, clothing or other necessities. "It's hard to estimate the number of 
homeless youths. Youth, frankly, are more elusive,'' Owen said, but survey 
research, youth service providers and shelter providers estimate there are 
about 660 homeless, unaccompanied youth on any particular night in 
Minnesota. Over a year's time, an estimated 10,000 young people have at 
least one "episode of homelessness,'' according to the report.

Among service providers is StreetWorks, a Minneapolis program that provides 
services and anything from food, to socks, to condoms, a bus token or a free 
phone call, to homeless youth 365 days a year. It's a collaborative of 12 
agencies in Hennepin and Ramsey County.

Rich Wayman, who heads StreetWorks, helped with the survey and agreed 
numbers are hard to pin down. "Most youth who are homeless do not admit they 
are homeless because in our society homelessness is a shameful position,'' 
even though these kids are seldom to blame for their situation, he said.

Wayman calls these kids "some of the most vulnerable people in our 
society,'' and he cites research indicating that within the first 48 hours 
on the street, the homeless young are approached by pimps, drug dealers and 
adults trying to exploit them for sexual reasons.

---End of forwarded article---


Homeless youth in Minnesota: Statewide survey of people without permanent 
shelter; September 2001; Wilder Research Center:


Homeless in Minnesota - 2000 survey:
Wilder Research Center:


Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless:



**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**


-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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