One of the more pressing issues in today’s America is the alarming number of children and teenagers without a home. Today, more than 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18, and most of them are in this state of poverty due to physical or emotional abuse from parents or guardians. Homelessness in this country’s youth is something that needs to be addressed more sincerely by the public and by government officials.

The approaches that need to be taken in order to fight homelessness in our country’s youth must differ from those applied to homeless adults. Shelters, while offering a variety of benefits, do not set up long-term success in young adults. In addition to food and shelter, programs and organizations that offer education and promote self-sufficiency must be developed if these youths are to avoid reentering the world of poverty.

A fairly common cause of youth homelessness, as mentioned before, is poor parenting. Children are far more likely to value their homes if they have strong, wholesome relationships with their parents, thus bringing forth the idea of parental coaching as a means of prevention. There are a wide range of these types of programs that exist today.

Cocoon House for example, dedicates their efforts to developing relationships between at-risk youths and adults in order to build confidence and trust, ultimately setting them up for the most success possible. The program also offers a safe home and support for children struggling with their sexual identities, with many of their own staff members identifying as LGBTQI themselves. A large number of homeless youths today are rejected by their parents for identifying as a sexuality different from their own. Because of this appalling statistic, Cocoon House’s respective program seeks to educate these children about the world they live in, which is much more accepting of their lifestyles now than it was in the past.

Providing homeless or at-risk youths with employment opportunities is one of the most effective strategies in preventing them from repeating any negative habits. Connecting children with employers and adults with business connections can jumpstart their professional lives, which can directly lead to better opportunities in life in general. Covenant House is program founded on this belief. This organization understands the economic reasons behind homelessness in America’s youth in addition to emotional and physical reasons. Through this understanding, Covenant House offers aid to thousands of homeless children and teenagers in many ways, including job training.

If we as a country are to abolish youth poverty, the necessary steps to do so must be clearly outlined and implemented. Parents, teachers, and adults working with children in any way must understand the vitalness of their roles in developing a successful young adult. By doing this and ensuring children stay on the right track throughout their lives, the shocking number of children currently on the streets could seen reach an all time low.