When you think of a person experiencing homeless, it’s difficult to imagine a young person, under 25, fending for themselves on the streets. On a single night in January 2022, 49 youths (18-24) were counted in Dane County, and 36,261 unaccompanied youth were counted as homeless nationwide. The number is shocking – and increasing – according to The National Alliance of Ending Homelessness.
So…why are youth experiencing homelessness?
Many youth experiencing homelessness are victims of trauma. Youth homelessness is often rooted in family conflict. Other contributing factors include economic circumstances like poverty and housing insecurity, racial disparities, and mental health and substance use disorders. Young people who have had involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are also more likely to become homeless.
Many homeless youth and young adults have experienced significant trauma before and after becoming homeless and are particularly vulnerable, including sex trafficking and exploitation victims.
Youth who identify as LGBTQ +; pregnant and parenting youth, youth with special needs or disabilities, and youth of color, particularly African-American and Native American youth, are also more likely to become homeless.
Not surprisingly, youth experiencing homelessness can have significant mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse problems.
Regardless of their challenges, youth experiencing homelessness are resilient, creative, strong, and fiercely loyal to their family of choice. When asked what they need from community members, kindness is the number one response because no one knows how tough their day may have been.
Urban Triage is launching a 13-bedroom transitional facility that provides unhoused youth with what we know works. What works is daily routines, community, therapy, social connectedness, mentors, hope, and a pathway to success. It will be the first in the history of Dane County.
Please Donate. Every dollar donated will be matched up to $100,000. That means when you donate $100--you're donating $200. Yep, that's right! Generous donors such as UW Health, who's matching up to $25,000, and $75,000 is being matched by an anonymous donor to support our Youth Unhoused Neighbors Initiative. If we can raise $100,000, we'll get $100,000 for this life-changing programing. For clarity, every dollar raised will be matched up to $100,000.
What can you do to support the success of Unhoused Youth? Donate to our Giving Tuesday Campaign. Make history with us. Support us in doing what we do best: filling gaps where it matters.
Impact: By the end of 2023, we'll permanently house 12 youths. By 2024 we'll house 24 youths. We'll provide wraparound support, including trauma recovery, mindfulness practices, case management, and other resources for their success. By 2024 our drop-in center will open--providing youth with immediate access to support and essentials. We're starting small and thinking big. Join us in the revolutionary work of centering our youth and securing our future.
The total annual budget for the program is $2.2 million. We received a grant for $700,000, and we're looking to raise the rest in unrestricted donations to provide the needed support, like therapy which is not covered by most grants, in addition to mindfulness practices, yoga, somatic work, fitness, and other therapeutic methods that are embedded in all our programming.