by the federal government as unaccompanied
ages 12 and older (up to age 17, 21, or 24) who are without family support and who are living in shelters, on the streets, in cars or vacant buildings, or who are “coach surfing” or living in other unstable circumstances.
Homelessness for youth means more than the absence of a safe place to sleep, enough food to eat or shelter from the cold. Homelessness means a lack of safe, stable, reciprocal relationships and vulnerability to dangers such as physical assault, sexual assault, or human trafficking.
Homeless youth are often invisible. In Washtenaw County, we don’t see many youth sleeping on sidewalks, but we know there are over 2.5 million homeless youth in America and
approximately 1,300 in Washtenaw County
each year. These resilient youth often move from one relative – without the resources to really help them – to another. They couch surf: sleeping on friends’ couches until they outstay their welcome, only to live on another friend’s couch for a short time, never acquiring the resources they need to find stability.
Tragically, many endure trauma or exploitation in exchange for a place to sleep. Along with losing their home, community, friends, and routines as well as their sense of stability and safety, many homeless youth are also victims of trauma. While trying to survive on the streets, youth are exposed to countless dangers, with an increased likelihood of substance abuse, early parenthood, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and a vulnerability to being trafficked. Up to 40% of youth who are homeless identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning. These youth are at higher risk than their peers for bullying, violence, exploitation, and discrimination.
Ozone House is available 24/7 to help youth get out and stay out of these situations. At Ozone House, youth find safety and nonjudgmental support from adults and peers. Whether youth need shelter, housing, individual or family counseling, 1:1 support and life skills, a job, to enroll in school, or a hot meal,
our door is always open