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Monday, November 17, 2014

National Homeless Youth Awareness Month - November and All Year Long!


While November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, there is an opportunity YEAR ROUND to bring greater attention to an issue critical to our mission to help New Jersey’s children and youth live fulfilling and successful lives.

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, there are more than 1.6 million children and youth each year that are homeless at some point in their lives. As these children and youth struggle to live on the street, they are susceptible to substance abuse, pregnancy, depression, and human trafficking.

Thanks to the federal Social Services Block Grant, we expanded services for New Jersey’s homeless youth. Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children and Covenant House New Jersey continue to conduct street outreach to identify and intervene with homeless youth in Superstorm Sandy-impacted areas.

In addition, we received federal Youth At-Risk of Homeless Planning Grant funding to identify creative interventions to prevent and address homelessness for and with youth in foster care. In the spring of 2015, we will propose a new intervention driven by youth, stakeholders, data, and a needs assessment process that will better connect youth with resources and support to end youth homelessness in New Jersey.

There are several ways you can help, individually and as part of your community. Cook and donate a meal to an organization that feeds the homeless, raise money for community homelessness prevention programs, or donate items like blankets, hats, and gloves to homeless shelters.

For more information, I encourage you to use these important and helpful resources:

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-homeless-youth-awareness-month

Fostering Success of Michigan
http://fosteringsuccessmichigan.com/uploads/misc/National_Runaway_Prevention_Month_Messaging_Guide.pdf