Nearly 70 youth, faith, and community members gathered at Sanctuary of Hope in South Los Angeles for a candlelight vigil to culminate Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month.
The gathering amplified through youth speakers that young people who run away from home or face homelessness are vulnerable to multiple threats, including not having their basic food and shelter needs met, untreated mental health disorders, substance use, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection, sexual exploitation, physical victimization and suicide. Further, youth pointed out systemic problems associated with entry and access from larger systems like coordinated and the importance of having easy access to services that will help them get on their feet like mentorship, job training and housing.
The current housing crisis puts young people at huge risk of more violence and trauma, and right now young people, and their children, need support more than ever. Increasing a young person’s resilience requires everyone’s efforts to create and foster connections for their well-being.
SOH’s disposition is that prevention is the pathway to “functional zero”. We reaffirm that youth homelessness should be brief, rare, and non-reoccurring.