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A bit on the struggles of homeless youth.

By August 10, 2012 No Comments

Street Kids are an at-risk population. They are very much under-served and under-resourced. We hope to be a service and a resource to our friends on the streets as they are rebuilding their lives.

“Youth in or aging out of foster care, runaway and homeless youth, and youth offenders, among other groups of youth, are particularly vulnerable to not completing high school, going on to college, or securing employment. For example, in a study of youth who had been in foster care and were, on average, about age 25, most had obtained a high school diploma or passed the general education development (GED) test at about the same rate as young people ages 18 to 29 in the general population. However, they were much less likely to have a bachelor’s degree—1.8% versus 22.5% of all young people. Further, the employment rate for these foster care alumni was 80%, while the employment rate for their counterparts in the general population was 95%.” (From Vulnerable Youth: Employment and Job Training Programs)

That paragraph was from 2007, which was a much healthier economic climate. Our friends simply cannot find jobs for many different issues, but a combination of a suffering job market and a lack of job skills is the perfect combination for remaining unemployed.

We pray for reform in the foster care system, but we seek to help those that are already victims of a broken system. Many of our friends on the streets have been in the foster care system at one time or another, but that is one item on a typically long list of things that classify them as “at-risk”.  What that communicates to me is that our friends are fighting an uphill battle that we would love to join them in to give them a higher chance of leading a healthy, sustainable life.

Transition from adolescent to adulthood is difficult for any adolescent (Madison and I are still technically in this transition stage, as research now indicates that the transition goes until around age 25). Imagine how much more difficult it is for individuals who have no parents that genuinely care, no financial resources, or no soft skills to apply to a job.

Our friends have a difficult situation at a difficult stage in their development.  There is no quick fix or set remedy to this, but at Purple Door Coffee we hope to walk through times of transition with our friends so that it might be a bit easier, a bit healthier, and a bit more transformational as they seek to build a life away from the streets.

If you would like to read more about at-risk populations, adolescence, and the state of our economy here are a couple resources to check out:

http://www.casey.org/resources/publications/pdf/improvingfamilyfostercare_es.pdf

http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/1851/

http://www.childtrends.org/Files/DefiningAtRisk%5B1%5D.pdf

http://mdhi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2012-Point-in-Time-Report.pdf

These are just a few of many resources that you can look into to learn more about the issues facing many of our friends on the streets. Look also at the resources in the articles themselves.