Young people experiencing homelessness in and around Atlanta are more numerous, more connected and more hopeful than previously believed. They band together to look after each other. Many of them work or go to school.
Those are among the findings of a year-long effort to count the number of homeless young people in the ninth-largest U.S. metro area. The study found a population of nearly 3,400 people between ages 14 and 25 — a figure “considerably larger” than the 2,000 to 2,400 of earlier estimates, said Eric Wright, the Georgia State University sociology professor who led the project.
Young people aging out of foster care face a multitude of obstacles, including unemployment and homelessness, health care access and education. Researchers, academics, practitioners and current and former foster youth came together to discuss transitioning out of the foster care system and some much-needed solutions to the complex problems.
Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew grew up in the foster care system in Los Angeles, where she lived in 14 different group homes, most of which featured various levels of abuse. Her experience showed her how children, in a system built to protect them, often face life-endangering risks that often go unnoticed by the public.
For young people with chronic health conditions to be healthy enough to attend school, they first need access to affordable and reliable health coverage. They need medications that stem the onset of symptoms, as well as support to understand and adhere to their medication management plan. The majority of students don’t have that.