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About Youth Homelessness

Wilder Research estimates that, on any night in the state of Minnesota, 4,000+ youth and young adults are homeless and unaccompanied by an adult.

Youth homelessness has jumped 63% in Minnesota since 2009, according to Wilder Research’s latest count in October 2012.

Homeless youth are disproportionately youth of color and victims of violence, sexual, physical or emotional abuse. They are young people who are on their own at too young an age.

Homeless youth struggle with numerous issues because of their age and lack of safe housing:

  • They are too young to obtain rental housing on their own; they simply do not have adequate income or savings to pay a damage deposit.
  • Without job experience or personal identification with a current address, they struggle to gain or improve upon their employment.
  • They have had little or no access to health care, mental health, legal support or social services.
  • Very often, their education is interrupted or curtailed.

The choices many homeless youth must make in order to survive often are not good for them. Youth on the streets are more likely to be assaulted or coerced by predators, to engage in prostitution, to become pregnant, to not receive needed medical or psychological attention, and to fail to find enough food and shelter to survive.

Homeless youth need youth-specific intervention in a setting safe from the hazards of street life. Age-appropriate shelter and supportive services is critical to protecting the vulnerability of homeless youth.

For these youth, a stable residence with adult supervision is the beginning of addressing larger life shaping issues.


Click here to watch a video produced by Wilder Research and Twin Cities Public Television titled “Homeless Youth: Finding Home.”

Watch this video! Avenues' Youth Counselor Michael Lee aptly states via a very moving spoken word performance the great need for housing for youth experiencing homelessness...and the angst experienced as a youth counselor having to turn away young people when there simply isn't room at the shelter.