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Homeless Youth Essay

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Homeless Youth Essay
Homeless Youth: Demographics, causes, and the need for occupational therapy Homeless youth are typically described as being persons under the age of 21 that do not have safe housing with a relative or caregiver and have no alternative safe living arrangements (Reeg, 2003, pg. 55). According to research conducted by the US Department of Justice, in 2002 there was an estimated 1.69 million homeless youth in America. The proportion of males and females are quite equal with ages 15-17 comprising the majority of the population (http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/youth.html). Interestingly, the is a very high representation of LGBTQ persons within the population, with an estimated 20-40% identifying as gay or lesbian (http://www.nchcw.org/uploads/7/5/3/3/7533556/crs_2013_rhya_history_and_lit_review.pdf). …show more content…
Although a single factor may trigger an episode of homelessness, often times these factors influence one another in both a linear and non-linear manner. The most common and considerable factor involves family/relational conflict. This area is comprised of events such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, and/or substance addiction among family members. When such events occur often times youth either flee their environment due to safety concerns or they are asked to leave. Economic difficulties can also present in various forms. Often times there is a financial crisis within the family that is influenced by a loss of work, inadequate wages, health care costs, prolonged unemployment, or difficulty in obtaining affordable housing. When these events occur, the youth are rendered homeless alongside their family or caregivers. However, these youth often become “unaccompanied” as time progresses due to voluntary relocation, entrance into foster or group care, and/or shelter and transitional housing

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