Youth On Their Own helping Arizona’s homeless youth as state sees largest increase
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As homelessness continues to rise in Arizona, many are concerned about the growing number of young people who don’t have homes.
According to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state tops the list of with the largest increase of homeless youth.
Bethany Neumann is the Director of Development and Communications at Youth on their Own, a Tucson organization that helps 1,500 adolescents a year.
“I think it goes unnoticed quite often,” Neumann said.
Since the early 1980s, Youth on their Own has been fighting youth homelessness in the Old Pueblo one helping hand at a time. They do this by helping young people facing this situation with education, supplies and
“There are a lot of youths whose parents have been deported. They are citizens here or not, just trying to finish their degrees,” Neumann said. “Other students whose parents are suffering from substance abuse or other addictions.”
According to the newest data from the HUD, 2,227 people are considered homeless in Tucson.
In addition, that data shows the number of youth experiencing homelessness in the area is 179. A number that organizers tell News 13, is much higher in Arizona since data like this doesn’t typically include people, who so-call, couch surf or go from home to home.
Neumann says 1/4 of youth that are homeless are considered LGBTQI+ and 1/5 are either pregnant or caring for a younger sibling.
“Understanding that it’s not that they did anything wrong,” Neumann said. “All four students with us are homeless through no fault of their own”
Organizers want the community to know, youth homelessness is a very complex problem and with the rise of housing costs an end in sight isn’t likely.
“I think one of the big things happening in the Tucson community is the housing crisis, rent is going up at a pretty substantial pace,” Neumann said. “A lot of the youth we serve or the folks helping them out and staying with don’t have the funds to keep paying for those increases.”
Neumann believes the city and other organizations are doing all they can to help the situation but with the few resources available to tackle the problem. She said now is the time for community members to come together and think of a creative solution, which could start with, you.
“It’s also just educating yourself, and realizing that although you might not see it directly, there are things that are happening, people who are in-house for unstable housing and kind of considering them in your everyday choices,” Neumann said. “Or how you perceive that population.”
Youth on their Own is always taking donations. If you would like to help, you can drop off items such as toiletries and non-perishable food items at their main office.
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