The Bassuk Center

Children & Youth

Time is precious in young lives

More than 2.5 million children experience homelessness each year in America. This represents one in every 30 children. Children experience homelessness in every city, county, and state in the U.S.—every part of our country.

Half are under the age of 6 in critical developmental years when the damaging experiences of homelessness - including living for months or years in an emergency shelter - can create changes in their brains and bodies with profound negative consequences for their health and wellbeing.

Children are resilient and can recover but time is precious. Services for children must be provided as soon as families enter emergency housing so that weeks and months necessary for their development are not lost forever. Essential services must then follow children into stable, permanent housing.

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Family conflict underlies youth homelessness

Young people may leave or be forced out of their homes by family tensions and interpersonal violence, sometimes due to tensions over lifestyle, sexuality, or gender. As well, "aging out" of the foster care system at age 18 can suddenly leave young people with no financial support or place to live.

When these experiences put young people on the streets, their health and safety are at risk. Racial and ethic minorities or youth who identify as LBGTQ are overrepresented among young people who experience homelessness - and there are fewer programs to help them.

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Mom with Child