Homeless Youth - What We Know...

Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness

We know that each homeless young person is special and worthy of love.  We also know that we serve far more than we wish we had to...close to 400 each day, and 4,000 per year in New York City. 

The young people we serve are strong and resilient; they are unique and diverse.  We serve many moms and babies and LGBTQ young people.  We serve those who are employed and those who aren't; those who are confident and those who are scared; those who have been victimized and those who have runaway.  Our young people have been trafficked, abused, rejected, and discriminated against. 

We serve each young person we meet; we strive to do so lovingly and without judgement.  Our ultimate goal is to help each young person move to "safe, loving, places in their lives."  Here is what else we know about homeless young people...

Behind the face of every homeless young person is another heartbreaking story – a teenage boy abused by his alcoholic parent, a pregnant girl rejected by her guardian, a lesbian young women misunderstood, or a teenager trying to escape gang membership or a life of forced prostitution.

In case after case, the main cause of youth homelessness is physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse from parents or guardians.

The facts about homelessness are staggering ... but acknowledging the depth of the problem is the first step in fixing it.

  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
  • In the United States, as many as 20,000 kids are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
  • According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
  • More than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
  • 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently and have limited education and no social support.
  • Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.

In addition to these heartbreaking statistics, a study issued by the Covenant House Institute revealed that:

  • 41% of Covenant House kids witnessed acts of violence in their homes.
  • 36% of Covenant House kids indicated that someone in their family used drugs regularly.
  • 19% of Covenant House kids reported being beaten with an object.
  • 19% of Covenant House kids reported that they have endured sexual abuse.
  • 15% of Covenant House kids reported that someone close to them had been murdered.

That's why Covenant House works day and night to provide shelter and support for kids who have endured lives of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. In 2012, Covenant House provided services to more than 50,000 of these kids. Our Residential and Community Service Center programs cared for 24,972 homeless kids, and Covenant House Street Outreach teams served an additional 31,050 homeless and at-risk youth on the streets in the 21 cities where Covenant House operates.