Prevent homelessness of young adults ages 16 to 25 and provide a personalized “safety net” of stable housing, guidance and community connections, to build a meaningful life.
Crisis of Homeless Young Adults in Marin County
In Marin County and the nation, homeless youth are underserved and growing among teens and young adults ages 16 to 25. The 2009 Marin IJ reported approximately 2,600 homeless youth in Marin County – the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) alone has identified 1,591 homeless youth in Marin. The exact number of youth in this situation is difficult to determine because of their nomadic lifestyle.
AHO has successfully served over 3,824 young people in Marin County over the past 18 years.
Nationally, 1.8 mil homeless young adults were reported in the 2000 Census. In 2008, those numbers increased 45% to 4 mil according to the New York Times. The US Census Bureau indicates that ages 14 to 25 represent 40% (the largest segment) of the growing homeless population. Youth are at the highest risk for incarceration, victimization or a chronic life of homelessness if they do not receive age-appropriate support by age 25 according to the Children’s Advocacy Institute.
28% of the homeless in Marin are ages 18 to 24 as per January 2015 PIT HUD count.
Who do you help?
– Single youth ages 16 to 25
– Home push outs
– Abandoned by their parents
– Youth with “absent parents”
– “Parents not able to parent” due to mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction or incarceration
– Young women leaving abusive boyfriends.
– LGBTQ youth & other youth that have exhausted all communication with their parents.
– Youth not supported by the funding streams for foster youth or mentally ill youth.
Where do you find them?
“Couch surfing”, living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, otherwise, under the radar of mainstream institutions. The CA Research Bureau “best practice research” indicates youth need programs that fit their emotional and developmental age. It is not safe or appropriate to mix them with the adult homeless population.
How do you connect to and engage them?
Although typically distrustful of adults and mainstream institutions, youth (who have been homeless themselves) do the outreach at AHO. Youth can trust other youth who have experienced homelessness themselves. AHO partners with each youth to assist them to meet their personalized educational and life goals. Youth then “give back” by participating as peer mentors, program advisors, board members and spokesperson’s of their experience.
How many youth referred?
In 15 years, over 3150 young adults were referred to AHO ….55% were youth referring themselves.
What support does the AHO “safety net” provide?
AHO is designed for young adults, by young adults for the future of young adults. AHO is a relationship-based youth-driven model that sees youth as future leaders. AHO provides many leadership opportunities along with housing, job and scholarship support, work wardrobe, professional counseling, financial literacy, healthcare & more. AHO youth are met in nonclinical places like cafes, libraries and restaurants. They are connected with a peer mentor who has experienced homelessness and matched with a trained adult ally coach. Coaches assist youth to access housing and other resources personalized to their needs with the assistance of AHO’s 165 Alliance for Youth partners. With the AHO “safety net”, youth have the caring adult ally and resources to move forward on their goals to become self-sufficient contributing adults.