Runaway and Homeless Youth

Key to giving youth a positive outlook on civic engagement is consulting with them about what they are interested in and then linking them to a variety of different types of community projects.
By the time John was 17 years old, he had bounced around between semi-independent living programs and foster homes for years. In one of his foster homes, another foster youth destroyed paintings John had created. Then his entire wardrobe was stolen. John spent many winter nights outside because the owner of the house wouldn't provide him with a key.
"We at the ACF/Family and Youth Services Bureau hold tightly to one overarching principle: young people deserve our very best efforts to help them succeed in life," says Harry Wilson, Associate Commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau.
Temporary financial assistance Most young people have financial management problems in the first few months on their own, particularly when faced with unexpected expenses.   Peer support Trying to live on a minimum-wage salary can be frustrating and depressing for youth. Peer support groups provide opportunities for youth to talk to others who can understand what they...
The Dream Tree Project in Taos, New Mexico, is building casitas, or little houses, for TLP graduates.
After being released from a juvenile facility, Diego entered the Dream Tree transitional living program. Though Diego, now 20 years old, graduated from the program and now lives on his own in a community far away from Dream Tree, he checks in regularly because he works for Onyx Construction, helping to build the casitas.
One FYSB grantee is working to make home ownership appealing to rural youth. In many rural areas it is sometimes cheaper to buy a home than to rent an apartment. Stepping Stones, a transitional living program for pregnant and parenting teens in Houlton, Maine, educates youth about the home-buying process.
Tips From Housing Expert Rebecca Muller of GrantWorks Know your local housing scene. Build relationships with different landlords so that you have a variety of housing types to steer youth towards, such as apartment complexes that have several units set aside for youth that you recommend.
Talk to youth and provide exit counseling that includes possible followup treatments (e.g., family reunification or counseling) that have been prescribed or scheduled.
Giving Back to the Community: African American Inner-City Teens and Civic Engagement. Author: M. Charles. No. 38 in CIRCLE Working Paper series. 2005. Available at Homeless Young Adults Ages 18–24: Examining Service Delivery Adaptations. Authors: S. Ammerman, et al. 2004. Available at
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