“Home Sweet Home”

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Camryn Sterling, Staff Writer

Homelessness in teens is a recurring issue each year. How can this issue be addressed? What ways can we help prevent teen homelessness?

Imagine not having a family to go home to or a comfortable bed to sleep in. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there is an estimated amount of 4.2 million youth and young adults that experience homelessness, about 700,000 being unaccompanied minors each year. Making that about 1 in 5 youths under the age of 18 running away at least once. Texas and Florida are two states that have seen a huge increase in percentage. The Texas public schools estimated and they had around 231,000 students homeless during the 2017-2018 school year and Florida having around 95,000 students.

Lauren Camera from U.S. News and World Report explains, “The biggest increase appeared in the number of homeless students living in unsheltered situations, such as in a car, in parks and on the street, which more than doubled from the 2016-2017 school year to the 2017-2018 school year, jumping 103%.”

This concern is even happening in our home town today! In 2015, The Indiana Youth Institute estimated 50 students experiencing homelessness and in 2018, estimating three. Yet again, we ask the question, in what ways can we help prevent this recurring issue? Most teens don’t recognize they are homeless, thinking that jumping from couch to couch is normal. To come up with a solution, we have to understand why it is happening. Family issues, economic problems, residential instability, physical or sexual abuse, uneasy relationships, or even parent neglect are all factors of why teens are experiencing homelessness. Along with these factors, dangers come with them. Teens are vulnerable and they cannot maintain a healthy and safe environment, including getting basic food and shelter needs.

Help is out there! Even in Seymour, there are homeless shelters and shelter houses that are there to help those in need. There are so many people who are willing to help make a difference. Everyday, be grateful for everything that we are able to have and spread kindness. You are not alone. Make someone smile today and let them know that you are by their side. We are all in this together.