Environmental Scan- AODS 154
Environmental scan on youth homelessness throughout San Diego, homeless youth have the same general characteristics: exposure to physical violence, mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse and conflicts with the law. They are often isolated with no family ties and few friends. Many have been raised in foster homes, have a lack of education and skills, and suffer from poor physical health. While the majority of homeless youth are male, the number of young women who are homeless is growing.
Some key informants confirmed that gay and lesbian youth are also at risk of ending up on the street because their families often reject them. They avoid using some of the shelters because they fear discrimination. In some cities, youth avoid adult shelters, feeling unsafe around adults with behavioral or mental health problems.
There is growing interest in programs that offer youth a full range of housing choices linked with support programs, such as lifeskills and pre-employment training. For example, the San Diego Youth Services has embarked on an initiative to provide a continuum of housing options, including emergency short-term shelter beds, transitional housing and independent living. This program will help youth with lifeskills, employment opportunities and the opportunity to address a variety of issues related to physical and mental health, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, and personal safety.
Environmental Scan on Youth Homelessness is a startling snapshot of youth homelessness and its effects on communities in San Diego. By examining its characteristics and causes, as well as the interventions that are proving effective, the report offers an unvarnished yet hopeful look at one of San Diego's major social problems.