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There are thousands of homeless youth in California. We don’t know exactly how many and estimates vary widely because homeless youth are hard to find and hard to count.
Homeless youth are often invisible.
Even a kid who is couch surfing is technically homeless. Couch surfing is not stable.
What we do know is that during 2008-09, about 81,000 services, ranging from shelter beds to street outreach contacts, were provided to homeless youth in California. Many more homeless youth do not receive any services. It is likely that 200,000 youth ages 12 to17, along with thousands of 18 to 24 year-olds, experience homelessness over the course of a year in California.
Runaways are homeless, too.
For kids who run away from home, there is no question of returning home; for them, the streets are more welcoming than the home they fled. These kids are our kids. We have a collective responsibility to assist California’s homeless youth.
November has been officially recognized as National Runaway & Homeless Youth Awareness Month by the United States Congress since 2007. It is also National Runaway Prevention Month. For the past several years, the California Coalition for Youth (CCY) has participated in the national planning committee for National Runaway Prevention Month, and has made efforts to do activities in Sacramento and throughout the state to raise awareness about runaway and homeless youth in California. We continue to build a coalition of individual, organizational and legislative supporters for the annual recognition of California Runaway & Homeless Youth Month. We are planning, supporting, and implementing a range of activities throughout the state to increase awareness, advocacy, and action on behalf of homeless youth in California; we hope to capitalize on the recent traction the issue of youth homelessness has gained and work to coordinate a better and broader action agenda.