A recent visit and tour of Star House offered a glimpse into a special population of homelessness currently on the rise; youth homelessness. Star House offers a 24/7 drop-in center plus resources and connections to community services for youth who are experiencing homelessness aged 14 to 24.
Open 365 days a year guests have access to food, clothing, hygiene items, laundry facilities, showers, and a safe place to be. Beyond basic needs, clinical therapists provide therapy and case management, and partnering agencies provide on-site and community-based access to housing, transportation, health care, employment, education, legal aid, government benefits, ID cards and other stabilizing resources.
Youth who are experiencing homelessness are at greater risk for victimization. Often they are leaving a situation of abuse, physical or sexual, finding the streets preferable. Others have been asked to leave home because parents or a family member is unwilling or unable to care for them.
Sometimes youth in the foster care system leave for reasons of victimization and abuse. Even when youth age out of foster care at 18, many are ill equipped to enter an adult world and are left with little connection to community or resources. This has become a leading contributing factor to youth homelessness.