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New report finds widespread youth homelessness

More community colleges, high school students in Santa Clara County lack stable housing

A stark new report publicized on Tuesday has found that homelessness among teenagers and young adults could be much more widespread in Santa Clara County than previously thought.

The new study by the Santa Clara-based Bill Wilson Center found that 44 percent of community college students in the South Bay have either been homeless recently or know a peer who is homeless. About 17 percent of high-school students also fit this description, according to the report.

Many of these students don't fit the typical conception of homelessness, such as living on the streets or in shelters. The Bill Wilson Center report made a concerted effort to count students who had unstable housing, such as "couch-surfing" at a friend or relative's home. Standard surveys used by schools and many government agencies to count homeless youth often don't include those who are living tenuously in someone else's home.

"In Santa Clara County we have many youth who are homeless, and there's no obvious clue that they're homeless," said Chris McManus, Bill Wilson Center spokesman. "This is potentially a lost generation."

The report underscores other recent findings that point to a growing underclass of youth struggling to find stable housing. Earlier this year, a countywide "Point in Time" count of people living on the street found a 175 percent increase in homeless youth over the last two years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that Santa Clara County had among the nation's highest counts of chronicly homeless youth.

The surge in homeless young people dovetails with the regional housing crisis. Santa Clara County for years has been among the priciest housing markets in the nation, and the Bill Wilson Center study points to this as a major contributing factor for families and individuals to "double up" and squeeze into a single home.

The full report from the Bill Wilson Center can be read here.

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Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

> The new study by the Santa Clara-based Bill Wilson Center found that
> 44 percent of community college students in the South Bay have either
> been homeless recently or know a peer who is homeless. About 17 percent
> of high-school students also fit this description, according to the report.

This is an incredibly useless metric. For example, if there are ten people who know each other and one is homeless--then 100% of this group is either homeless or knows someone who is homeless. Even though the metric describing "homelessness" is reported as 100%, in fact, only one person, or 10% of the group is actually homeless.

Actual numbers are called for here--not some cockemany number that is of no help understanding the real problem.

This leaves us with the always present question in these matters: "Where are these kids parents?"


Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:54 pm

There's nothing that we can do other than giving more money to those people, and to my understanding - this is not happening. That means this will only get worse as the gap between the unemployed and a living wage widens to extreme values. And all this is happening in a country which is supposed to be the 1st economy in the world...

Best wishes,

Mary Obrien
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Data Point
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:09 am

Perhaps a connection to youthm homelessness and the opioid epidemic?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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