Youth homelessness

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Youth homelessness is homelessness for young people.

Youth homelessness is a significant social issue globally, both in developing countries and many developed countries. In developing countries, research and preventions has mostly been focussing on "street children", while in developed countries, central concerns in the research and prevention involve breakdown in family relationships and other causes that lead to young people leaving home.[1] The term "street children" also includes street workers who are not actually homeless.[2]

The exact definition of youth homelessness varies by region. In the United States, a homeless youth is someone who is under the age of 21 and is unable to safely live at a relative, and has no other safe alternative living arrangement.[3] In Australia, there are three categories of homelessness which include those who live from one emergency shelter to another (in homeless shelters of 'couch surfing') as well as those living in accommodation that falls below minimum community standards (boarding houses and caravan parks).[4]

Homeless people, and homeless organizations, are sometimes accused or convicted of fraudulent behaviour. Criminals are also known to exploit homeless people, ranging from identity theft to tax and welfare scams.[5][6][7] These incidents often leads to negative connotations on the homeless.[8][9]


Youth homelessness in Australia is a significant social issue,[10] affecting tens of thousands of young people in the country. In 2006, the Australian government estimate, focusing on homeless school children, found some 20,000 homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 18.[11] Another estimate find approximately 44,000 homeless Australians under the age of 25.[12]

Activists maintain that the majority of young people left home because of family breakdowns, often created by domestic violence and abuse.[13] An estimate by Swinburne University found that over $600 million is spent each year on health and justice services for homeless youth.[14]

Researchers have studied the prevalence of psychological distress and mental illness among homeless youth in Australia.[15]

Early intervention services have been regarded by some experts as a way to curb youth homelessness.[16] Other researchers have examined the potential solution of youth foyers.[17]


In Canada, youth homelessness is recognized as a significant social issue, however, no nationwide strategy or study has been conducted.[18]

Some researchers focus on the effects of homelessness on young LGBT Canadians.[19] Others focus on the general rates of poor health among Canada's homeless youth.[20]

United States[edit]

In the United States, homeless youth are a varied group.[21] Some researchers maintain that some two million young people in America are homeless.[22]


  1. ^ Stephenson, Svetlana (2001). "Street children in Moscow: using and creating social capital" (PDF). The Sociological Review. 49 (4): 530-547. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  2. ^ Raffaelli, Marcela (1999). "Homeless and working street youth in Latin America: a developmental review". Department of Psychology. Faculty Publications, University of Nebraska. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Defining the Problem and the Population - Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-27. Retrieved 2016-09-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Claire Scott (5 July 2016). "Kinahan gang taking advantage of homeless crisis as part of latest fraud scheme". Dublin Live. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  6. ^ Kristin Rodine (5 May 2017). "Georgia man gets 10 months for perpetrating 'Operation Homeless' fraud in Boise". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  7. ^ Kevin Wendolowski (2014). "Fighting fraudsters who target homeless in scams". Fraud Magazine (September–October). Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  8. ^ Nicholas Confessore (24 November 2009). "Homeless Organization Is Called a Fraud". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  9. ^ David Barnett (31 October 2016). "Is Begging Just A Scam, Or A Lifeline For Those Most In Need?". The Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  10. ^ MacKenzie, David, and Chris Chamberlain. "Youth homelessness in Australia 2006." (2008).
  11. ^ "Youth Homelessness in Australia - Department of Social Services, Australian Government".
  12. ^ Flatau, Paul, Monica Thielking, David MacKenzie, and Adam Steen. "The cost of youth homelessness in Australia study: snapshot report 1." (2015).
  13. ^ "Family breakdowns blamed for youth homelessness". 12 April 2016.
  14. ^ "The cost of youth homelessness in Australia - Swinburne news".
  15. ^ Kamieniecki, Gregory W. "Prevalence of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders among homeless youth in Australia: a comparative review." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 35, no. 3 (2001): 352-358.
  16. ^ Chamberlain, Chris, and David Mackenzie. Youth Homelessness: Early Intervention & Prevention. Australian Centre for Equity through Education, Corner Bridge and Swanson Streets, Erskineville, New South Wales 2043, Australia, 1998.
  17. ^ Beer, Andrew, and Fiona Verity. Homelessness amongst young people in rural regions of Australia. Routledge, 2006.
  18. ^ Evenson, J., and C. Barr. "Youth homelessness in Canada: The road to solutions." Toronto, Canada: Raising the Roof (2009).
  19. ^ Abramovich, Ilona Alex. "No safe place to go-LGBTQ youth homelessness in Canada: Reviewing the literature." Canadian Journal of Family and Youth/Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse 4, no. 1 (2012): 29-51.
  20. ^ Kirst, Maritt, and P. Erikson. "Substance use and mental health problems among street-involved youth: the need for a harm reduction approach." Youth homelessness in Canada: Implications for policy and practice (2013): 185-198.
  21. ^ Edidin, Jennifer P., Zoe Ganim, Scott J. Hunter, and Niranjan S. Karnik. "The mental and physical health of homeless youth: a literature review." Child Psychiatry & Human Development 43, no. 3 (2012): 354-375.
  22. ^ Helfrich, Christine A., Ann M. Aviles, Chaula Badiani, Deborah Walens, and Peggy Sabol. "Life skill interventions with homeless youth, domestic violence victims and adults with mental illness." Occupational Therapy in Health Care 20, no. 3-4 (2006): 189-207.