A hard look at Philadelphia’s youth homelessness
Philadelphia is home to at least 569 youth ages 13 to 25 who were counted as being homeless and unaccompanied on a single night in August 2016. Of this number, about 28% had been in foster care, the juvenile justice system or both; 70% are African American; 78% graduated high school or received a GED; and more than a third of females reported being mothers or currently pregnant.
Other findings include: LGBTQ youth are over-represented within the city’s youth homelessness population; youth homelessness is a hidden issue often disguised as couch-surfing; strong cross-system collaboration among public systems including the school district, child welfare system and justice system are crucial to preventing youth homelessness and ensuring that young people do not fall through the cracks.
Adolescents who have run away from home, are homeless, or are unstably housed experience substantially higher rates of dating violence and victimization than their stably housed peers.There are several factors contributing to the high rates of domestic violence and victimization within the runaway and homeless youth population including limited access to resources and increased exposure to street culture. In addition, homeless youth may engage in subsistence strategies that place them at greater risk for partner violence, such as survival sex, that increases their visibility and proximity to potential perpetrators.
See resources for help if you are a homeless youth or teen.