There are approximately 26,000 homeless youth in Illinois, more than 14,000 in Chicago alone. On any given night, hundreds of youth search for a place to stay but have no where to go for shelter.
Often, the incredible number of homeless youth is a shock to Illinois citizens; but the reality is that many kids do everything they can to hide their homelessness from their peers and communities. While all youth may not sleep on the streets, all face unstable housing, ‘couch surfing’ from place to place.
This instability leads to a lack of resources, and many youth resort to crime, substance abuse, or the exchange of sex for food, clothing or shelter – believing it is the only way they can survive. They are in constant danger of exploitation, violence, illness and imprisonment. In addition, they are at risk of not completing school, developing emotionally or achieving career/financial stability.
To raise awareness of this issue, and to recruit host homes, mentors, and supporters of these vulnerable youth, Youth Outreach Services has launched a public awareness campaign throughout Chicago designed to highlight the dangers faced by homeless youth.
We invite you to get involved today. Together, we can help these kids beat the odds.