Music icon Cyndi Lauper and federal officials launch a campaign to end youth homelessness, armed with a new Admin. for Children and Families report that shows more than half of street youth are homeless because they got kicked out by their families.
The “Ending Youth Homelessness: A Call to Action” event brought together Lauper, officials from ACF, and former homeless youth to discuss the new research. More than half of homeless youth become homeless for the first time because they are asked to leave home by a parent or caregiver, according to the ACF study, Street Outreach Program Data Collection Project.
It is estimated that between 500,000 and 1.6. million youth are homeless each year.
The first-of-its-kind study, funded by ACF’s Family & Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), focused on 656 youths, age 14- to 21, in 11 cities. Respondents included street youth served by FYSB’s Street Outreach Program grantees and street youth who were not using services.
The study found the following:
- On average, the youth became homeless for the first time at age 15.
- The average youth spent nearly two years living on the streets.
- More than 60% were raped, beaten up, robbed, or otherwise assaulted.
- Nearly 30% of participants identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, and nearly 7% identified as transgender.
“No young person deserves to experience homelessness, especially because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is why we must stand with them to help them live the happy and healthy lives they do deserve,” says Lauper, the Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner and co-founder of the True Colors Fund.
The Street Outreach Program (CDFA 93.557), together with the Basic Center Program (CDFA 93.623) are ACF efforts to provide about $20 million a year to help local efforts in aiding street youth. Those grant programs run on an annual basis with deadlines in the spring: Basic Center Program, (most recent NOFA); Street Outreach Program: (most recent NOFA).