Tara, a recent graduate of a local Frederick County public high school, faced a difficult decision several years ago. Either she would remain in her parent’s home, where a dysfunctional environment made it very difficult to stay, or leave and take her chances with another adult living out of state who promised her safety, security and some degree of stability in Tara’s life.
Tara decided for the latter, setting her life on to another direction that now includes college.
(We are using first names only to protect the privacy of the students who let us tell their stories.)
Summer, another Frederick County resident, came back from attending college to her family, which turned her away. Determined to remain in Frederick, and pursue work, Summer was forced to live in her cars for days until friends, who discovered that Summer was homeless, took her in and worked to provide food and care for her.
Both Tara and Summer are examples of the hundreds of thousands of youth who experience homelessness sometime during the course of each year in America. Each became homeless for different reasons, and each was challenged to find security in the midst of the stress and anxiety young people faced when few if any resources exist to help.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s annual Point in Time Survey, there were 111,592 homeless youth and 48,319 homeless young adults counted on a single night in January 2018. These figures are deceptively low as most authorities in the field acknowledge that this population is difficult to locate and identify.
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