National Homeless Youth Awareness Month (November 2014)

11/2014

Each year more than 1.6 million children are homeless at some point in their lives, and that number is increasing (The National Center on Family Homelessness). 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, impulsivity, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and a vulnerability to being trafficked.

In support of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is providing resources to help communities, families, educators, mental health and child welfare professionals, and policy makers and advocates better understand and deal with homeless youth.

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Featured NCTSN Resources


Complex Trauma: Facts for Service Providers Working with Homeless Youth and Young Adults (2014) (PDF)

Complex Trauma: Facts for Shelter Staff Working with Homeless Children and Families
(2014) (PDF)

Culture and Trauma Brief: Trauma Among Homeless Youth (2007) (PDF)
Discusses the challenges that traumatized youth face when living on the street and offers suggestions for service providers who want to engage these young people.

Culture and Trauma Speaker Series, Part I
Working with Homeless & Runaway Youth (2007)
A presentation in an NCTSN Speaker Series offered through the Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma: Arlene Schneir, MPH, and Daniel Ballin, LCSW, discuss how to engage and provide services to homeless and runaway youth.

Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children (2004) (PDF)
Provides information and data about the prevalence of homelessness among American youth, the role of trauma in the youths' lives, adverse consequences of homelessness, and ways that programs and communities can help address the problem.

Psychological First Aid for Families Experiencing Homelessness (2009) (PDF)
Guidelines for shelter providers on how to help families in crisis (e.g., homelessness, trauma) feel safe and connect to services—the first step to long-term stability.

Psychological First Aid for Youth Experiencing Homelessness (2009) (PDF)
A manual that provides a framework and an intervention model for direct-care staff working in drop-in centers, emergency and transitional shelters, and group homes so that they can better understand and address the needs of homeless youth who are often survivors of trauma. Developed by the agencies of the Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership (including the Community Trauma Treatment Center for Runaway and Homeless Youth, Children's Hospital Los Angeles), an NCTSN member.

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For Communities

Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership
“A partnership of youth-serving agencies that prevent and reduce homelessness among youth and young adults through direct service, research policy development, training, and capacity building.”

  • eLearning Courses
    Designed to provide information and training to service staff working with homeless youth. All courses are free and available online.
  • Resources Page (PDF) (PPT) (Webinar)
    Information on intimate partner abuse prevention, needs assessments, and trauma in homeless and runaway youth.

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Helps prevent and end homelessness in the US through improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders.

  • Community Plans
    Provides details of plans (by communities, regions, and states) to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness around the country.
  • The Ten Essentials: What Your Community Needs To Do To End Youth Homelessness  (PDF)
    A checklist that helps communities identify "the minimum requirements for an effective permanent solution to prevent and end youth homelessness . . . draws from over twenty years of research and experience with communities around the country."

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
A legal arm of the nationwide movement to alleviate, prevent, and end homelessness, whose primary strategies are to impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education.

  • Legal Tools to End Youth Homelessness (2004) (PDF)
    Provides information on federal laws that can help homeless/runaway youth.  Resources include websites and phone numbers for educators, advocates, and lawyers who can help.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)
A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that provides services to "people with serious mental illness, including those with co-occuring substance use disorders, who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless." Services include community-based outreach; support services including mental health, substance abuse, case management; and some housing services.

StandUp For Kids
The organization's volunteers "go to the streets in order to find, stabilize and otherwise help homeless and street kids improve their lives." Other projects include programs in schools and via the Internet dealing with deterring homelessness and providing resources.

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For Families

National Center for Homeless Education at the SERVE Center
The technical assistance and information center of the U.S. Department of Education that deals with homeless education.

The National Center on Family Homelessness
“Conducts state-of-the-art research, identifies and disseminates best practices and innovative solutions, and raises public awareness about the unique needs of homeless families.” Initiatives include public education and policy, program design, training and technical assistance, and research and evaluation. Provides facts sheets, trauma training, links to other resources, and a publications list.

National Network for Youth (nn4y)
Helps runaway, homeless, and other disconnected youth. Programs include street-based services; emergency shelter and transitional living programs; counseling; and social, health, educational, and job-related services to more than 2.5 million youth annually. 

  • Crisis
    Includes information on the nn4y 24-hour crisis line, a link to personal stories from homeless youth, and a link to a database of more than 10,000 youth and family agencies providing countless options for callers to access a myriad of services, such as counseling, shelter services, alcohol/drug treatment and child protective services.

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For Educators

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Helps prevent and end homelessness in the US through improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders.

       Fact Sheets on Homelessness
       Age-appropriate information that addresses causes and solutions to homelessness and offers ways for students
       to become a part of the solution.

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
A national grassroots membership association serving "as the voice and the social conscience for the education of children and youth in homeless situations. It connects educators, parents, advocates, researchers, and service providers to ensure school enrollment and attendance, and overall success for children and youth whose lives have been disrupted by the lack of safe, permanent, and adequate housing."

National Center for Homeless Education at the SERVE Center
The technical assistance and information center of the U.S. Department of Education that deals with homeless education.

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For Mental Health and Child Welfare Professionals

Homelessness Resource Center
A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) program that is “an interactive community of providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers, and public agencies at federal, state, and local levels” . . . that seeks “ to improve the lives of people affected by homelessness who have mental health conditions, substance use issues, and histories of trauma.” Offers “state-of-the art knowledge and promising practices to prevent and end homelessness through training and technical assistance, publications and materials, on-line learning opportunities, and networking and collaboration.”

  • Best Practices for Providers
    Links to twelve papers and articles dealing with homelessness issues: affordable housing, re-entry from jails, case management, alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs, outreach and engagement, affordable housing, policies and services, shelters and programs, long-term shelters, abused women, and Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT).

The National Center on Family Homelessness
“Conducts state-of-the-art research, identifies and disseminates best practices and innovative solutions, and raises public awareness about the unique needs of homeless families.” Initiatives include public education and policy, program design, training and technical assistance, and research and evaluation. Provides facts sheets, trauma training, links to other resources, and a publications list.

National Coalition for the Homeless
A “national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to . . . ending homelessness.” Focuses on public education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing in the areas of housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights.

  • Directories
    A searchable database of homeless directories; links to PDFs of a Directory of National Organizations, a Directory of National, Statewide and Local Homeless Advocacy Organizations, and a Directory of Local Homeless Service Organizations; a link to a website from Helping the NEEDY to access a directory of homeless shelters and social service organizations; and a link to shelterlistings.org, a state-by-state listing of homeless shelters, supportive housing, halfway housing, transitional housing, and day shelters.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Uses grassroots organizing to increase the effectiveness of local LGBT activism nationwide in rural areas, small towns, and cities. Trains activists, strengthens the infrastructure of local and state allies, and organizes broad-based campaigns to foster public support for full equality of LGBT people.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center
Provides trainings, webinars, toolkits, and tip sheets to assist professionals in improving their services for and building their capacity to effectively serve runaway and homeless youth.

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For Policy Makers and Advocates

Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness
Focuses on “action-oriented research of family homelessness to . . . inform policy makers at all levels of government and colleagues in the research and advocacy community . . . enhance public policy on serving homeless families, and . . . raise public awareness of homelessness through publications and other materials for schools and communities.”

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH)
Helps prevent and end homelessness in the US through improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders.

  •  Policy Section
    This section is designed to share information about key legislation that creates, modifies, or funds federal programs impacting people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Unites States Interagency Council on Homelessness
"Coordinate the federal response to homelessness and to create a national partnership at every level of government and with the private sector to reduce and end homelessness in the nation while maximizing the effectiveness of the Federal Government in contributing to the end of homelessness."

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