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Homelessness In The Adolescent Population Essay, Research Paper

Everyone thinks they have it tough. On a day to day basis the average person complains at least fifty times. But, most of the people who complain have it pretty well – Nice homes, loving families, and nearly all they want. Now, imagine the stress of a teenager who has no home. It seems pretty hard to understand how these youths survive. Between school and home (wherever they call home), destitute children have unbelievably tough lives.School presents itself as a very hard place for homeless children. A lack of clothing makes them reluctant to attend school because they view their clothes as less than adequate. Their peers may scoff at them and as a result practically all suffer from low self esteem. Children who live in one room with their entire family or who share a room with many other children lack privacy and have limited space for physical activity. As a result, they tend to become withdrawn or aggressive. Some may be unable to do homework because of the noisy environment, the lack of private space, and the presence of other children in the same room. Children who frequently change schools lack both structure and continuity in their lives, and may be unwilling to risk forming deep friendships. They experience depression as a result of leaving familiar places and people, and may fall behind academically as they miss school. Children who have to keep moving have no sense of roots, personal space, or possesions. Most see life as temporary, and are restless and leaving projects half finished. Nearly all cling to their few possesions and can be agresive trying to claim something for themselves. Because they lack control in other areas of their lives, nearly all of the kids will literally fight for control at school. School is just one of the many places homeless kids have trouble in, but maybe the most costly.Homeless youth face many challenges on the streets. A poll taken by Robertson Polls in 1996 professed few homeless youth are housed in emergency shelters as a result of lack of shelter beds for minors, shelter admission policies, and a inclination for greater autonomy. Many homeless adolescents find that exchanging sex for food, clothing, and shelter their only chance for survival on the streets. Furthermore, homeless youth are at a greater risk of contracting AIDS or HIV-related illnesses. Studies anonymously performed by the Robertson Polls in 1996 unearthed a median HIV-positive rate of 2.3% for homeless persons under age 25. Homeless adolescents frequently suffer from severe anxiety and depression, poor health and nutrition, and low self-esteem. As a result, more than half of homeless kids will die before the age of 19.

Reading about this topic has made me realize that I can not even fathom what it would be like to live homeless. How those kids carry on without a home enthralls me. I can not even go without my stereo, never mind my home. Coincidentally, before we started writing about this topic I read a story about a man who grew up derelict and is now valued at seven million dollars. It was his own choice to be homeless, he said, Where my life was going it was better for me to leave home and experience destitution to make myself work harder for the imminent. Although I do not see the sense in this, I still think it extraordinary. It just goes to show that there are all types of people on the streets. Maybe the next Mozart sleeps in a refrigerator box. Possibly the next Hitler eats out of a garbage dump. You can not put a face on the demographics. In spite of the fact that I can not give a solution for homelessness, I can say that all the kids out there with no homes deserve at least a chance to become something. Work CitedNational Coalition for the Homeless, Who is Homeless? NCH Fact Sheet #3, May 1998Michelle Fryt Linehan, Children who are Homeless: Educational Strategies for School Personnel from Phi Delta Kappan, September, 1992National Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Families with Children NCH Fact Sheet #7, October, 1998Warren Cohen and Mike Tharp, Fed-Up Cities Turn to Evicting the Homeless U.S. News and World Report, January, 1999Alfi Odela Scruggs, Coping with Cold without a Home The Cleveland Line, January, 1999


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