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Youth homelessness is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of kids each year in America. There are many causes of homelessness ranging from teen recklessness to child abuse. It is a very difficult problem to solve, and it requires action on every causing factor, which will take continuous work. This issue may be ever present due to its unending causes and factors, but we can work to reduce it.` Over the past century or so the views of homeless or runaway youth have changed drastically, ranging from a social outcast to a victim of the economy. In 1929 The Great Depression fell onto America. The stock market plummeted, and jobs became increasingly difficult to find when unemployment had risen from 8 to 15 million (The Great Depression and The New Deal). According to an article from George Washington University, suicide rates had elevated from 14 to 17 per 100,000 (The Great Depression).  At this point in time, runaways and homeless youth were generally seen as an aftereffect of the economy crash. Another piece of history that affected the views on runaway and homeless youth was the Hippie Movement. In the 1960’s, the hippie movement blossomed, it was a movement whose population mainly consisted of youth. They believed in the slogan “Make love, not war.”, which supported their ideals of peace and acceptance. Parents throughout the United States feared for their children’s futures in life. School-age hippies would normally drop out of school, “finding themselves” by using psychedelic drugs such as marijuana or LSD. They referred to non-hippies as “squares”, which was their term for a law follower. (The Hippie Movement) Runaways and homeless youth were generally seen as delinquents, and troublemakers, (Runaways-history) which essentially they were. Hippies were changing the social norms, and fighting the culture of that time.Currently, the views of homeless and runaway youth has changed drastically. In our culture, runaways and homeless youth are viewed as victims of maltreatment or misjustice. The main causes for homelessness is abuse or neglect, LGBT+ family or community rejection, abandonment or disownment, economic struggle, mental health issues, foster care or welfare involvement, or family dysfunction (Homeless and Runaway Youth). These all can fall under two different subpoints. The fact that there is a large amount of family and community issues related to abuse, rejection, and dysfunction that needs to be addressed. As well as the issue of mental health, which can gravely affect anyone, but more drastically youth involved with foster care. Approximately 80 percent of children in foster care have mental health issues, compared to 18-22 percent of the general population (Mental Health and Foster Care). The mental health of America has also declined since President Ronald Reagan signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, it was advertised as a law to allow mentally ill to seek treatment outside of the governmental clinics, but it’s real purpose to was to cut down the federal bill (Ronald Reagan). It overruled Jimmy Carter’s presidential commission on mental health which was created to improve the mental health programs, it targeted the groups that previous laws had missed, as well as the drastically mentally ill (Public Policy and Mental Illnesses). There are many programs in place to help these youth currently, which is a welcome change to simply criticizing those in poverty. The issue of homelessness can affect all ages, minorities, and locations. But in the US, the statistics can drastically change from region to region. Each state has very different statistics, as an example, per 100,000 Although being homeless, or running away may appear like a bad thing, sometimes there are profits from running away. In many severe cases of abuse or neglect, running away is the better option for some youth. Running away can provide an escape from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, as well as bullying or neglect. Running away is traditionally seen as a “bad’ thing, but although it provides an escape from dangerous situations, doing so puts yourself in a very dangerous situation. Youth who run away are more prone to high risk behaviors, including joining gangs, doing drugs, as well as severe mental conditions such as anxiety and depression, which often leads to suicide. They are also prone to poor health and self esteem. (Runaway and Homeless Youth) Survival sex is very commonly performed for food, shelter, money, or drugs. According to a study done of homeless youth in 2000, approximately 28% of street youth, and 10% of shelter youth had performed survival sex.

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