Angel Reach: Giving Hope — and Shelter — to Our Local At-Risk Youth
Young people typically access Angel Reach services through word of mouth, where they often show up unsure about what help they are seeking. Some are sleeping outside and looking for shelter beds, while others are crashing with friends and want help with long-term planning. Many lack work experience to add to a résumé or the established rental history needed to get approved for housing.
All young people deserve to grow up in a safe and stable home. Yet individual, family, community and system challenges result in 1 in 30 youths ages 13 to 24 and 1 in 10 young adults ages 18 to 25 experiencing some form of homelessness over the course of a year. These youth face instability and trauma during an important developmental period, limiting their growth and creating costly effects for them and the communities in which they live.
Legislative and funding developments have begun to establish a framework for addressing youth homelessness, but much work remains. Insufficient funding targeted to youth homelessness combined with rigid and restrictive policy guidelines governing eligibility for services and permissible uses of funds have allowed youth to fall through the cracks.
Ending youth homelessness is possible. We can target additional and coordinated investments toward what works. We can focus on prevention. Our strategies can be informed by the perspectives of youth. By working in concert, policymakers, public and private funders, service providers and communities can help young people enter adulthood with the stability, relationships and opportunities they want and need to be able to thrive by 25.
(Anne E Casey Foundation, March 8, 2023)