Issue Task Forces
Linda J. Slavik
Office Wish List
Hit Counter started 7/1/01
Fact Sheet on Homeless Youth
Over the course of a year, approximately 26,000 youth in Illinois, and
15,000 youth in Chicago, experience homelessness.
Homeless youth are between the ages of 13 and 21 and primarily have left home or
been kicked out because of serious family problems.
Abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), substance abuse by a parent,
absence of a parent, and long-term family economic problems are all common
experiences among these youth. Pregnant
and parenting teens, former and current wards, and youth who identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning (LGBTQ) are a
disproportionately high segment of the population.
housing resources for homeless youth do not come close to meeting the need for
these services. There are only 212 state shelter beds designated for homeless
youth, and 119 beds in the entire city of Chicago. A Chicago Coalition for
the Homeless (CCH) survey found that 42 percent of youth seeking shelter from
state-funded programs for homeless youth were turned away in 2000 because of a
lack of resources.
While they are trying to gain stability, jobs and housing, homeless
youth are often vulnerable to further abuse: A CCH survey of 200 homeless youth, Alone
After Dark, found that 33% of the youth had been physically attacked, 20%
had been raped or sexually assaulted after leaving home, and 12% had
engaged in prostitution.
Lakeview has long been a gathering place for many of these youth from
around the city and the Midwest. Often,
youth feel they can find acceptance here for their sexual identity; they also
create families among themselves here as a way to protect themselves and find
the youths’ relationship with the police is often strained, and
many homeless and LGBT youth and youth of color are often the targets of
harassment or abuse from officers. Through
the Lakeview Action Coalition, a network of congregations and non-profits are
collaborating with the police department and 44th Ward Alderman
Tunney on how to increase referrals from police officers to youth for
services and how to ensure that youths’ and all people of our community’s
human rights are respected.
to find more information:
www.lakeviewaction.org - Information on how the Lakeview community is
responding to this situation and how you can get involved
www.thenightministry.org - Not-for-profit with comprehensive programming for
homeless youth in our area
www.impactresearch.org (click on publications) – a new survey of
400 homeless youth including recommendations for action
www.chicagohomeless.org - website for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless