Forty-two percent of homeless youth have experienced physical abuse, while 34% have experienced parental neglect, and 27% have been sexually abused. Many have aged out of foster care, and don’t have the skills or coping mechanisms to be stable. More than one-quarter of homeless adults first experienced homelessness by age 17 or younger (some with their parents and others on their own). Studies show that for every $1.00 invested in services for homeless youth, an economic return of approximately $4.00 results for a community.
LA-MN is working closely with Lutheran Social Service and Catholic Charities (and other Youth Moving Forward Coalition partners) to secure additional funding to assist youth experiencing homelessness and help them transition successfully into adulthood. If successful, this effort would add $4 million to an existing $6 million per biennium (so about $5 million/year). The last time grants were offered for homeless youth services, the applications totaled more than $20 million in requests from 51 organizations, including $10 million for projects that could have started at that moment. Funding is still very low compared to the need. This bill would also change the age limits in Minnesota from 16-21, to the federal level of “up to age 21,” which would create significantly less paperwork for agencies and organizations who are already serving the youth to the higher age.