A new report outlines struggles faced by homeless youth without a parent or guardian

Oct 7, 2019

A new report is raising awareness about unaccompanied homeless youth in the state  - or homeless youth not in the custody of a parent or guardian.

The report, from the Michigan League for Public Policy, found that there are roughly 4,800 unaccompanied homeless youth age 24 or younger.

A separate state report suggests that while the number of homeless youth is declining overall the number of unaccompanied minors, younger than 18, could be rising.

Parker James is with the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“There are really additional challenges for those youth as they try to navigate homeless services, the school system, employment and all of these things without a parent or guardian with them,” he said.

James said communities should try and create more resources for homeless youth - such as drop-in centers where youth can access food, showers, or laundry.

“And (we) particularly encourage projects that have a youth focus that include units specifically designed for homeless youth,” he said.

James said the state should also work to create more affordable housing to help reduce homelessness overall.

Courtesy of the Michigan League for Public Policy

Unaccompanied homeless youth were disproportionately black.

“Over half of unaccompanied youth who are accessing homeless services identified as black or African American. Youth who are Native American or Alaska Native were also over represented.”

James said LGBT youth, especially transgender youth, were also over represented.