Youth Homelessness In America

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Youth homelessness is a social justice issue. It is estimated that there is anywhere from 1.6-2 million youth are living on the streets, shelters, and other non-permanent homes (Slesnick, 2004). Social justice is the ideal that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Surely homeless youth is the epitome of social injustice. These youth do not have equal access and rights as their adult counterparts. Furthermore, most youth in this category have usually been failed by a system supposedly upholding social justice. History of Homelessness While it’s true that this paper deals with the injustice of youth homelessness, the history of the homeless cannot be separated into groups such as adults and youth. We must look at the group as a whole to explore the history of homelessness in America. It’s true that homeless people have existed as long as America has been a country. In the colonial era, the homeless were referred to as the wandering poor (Kusmer, 2002). While there had always been homeless people, the issue of homelessness didn’t become a national issue until the 1870’s. At the time, more men than women were becoming homeless and these men were forming a new breed of homeless people that were dubbed…show more content…
Youth report higher rates of alcohol and drug use, are more likely to engage in risky sexual activities, and are often victims of crime such as robbery, rape and assault (Slesnick, 2004). These youth are often involved in the juvenile justice system because they resort to illegal activities. While researching for her book, Natasha Slesnick interviewed one homeless youth who broke into a car in front of her for a cigarette. According to Slesnick, homeless youth resort to these activities for a couple different reasons, one is for survival and the other is for status. Street youths often will pride themselves on their abilities in order to gain credibility on the

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