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Youth & Society

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Homelessness -- Youths, Homelessness -- Social aspects


Services for youth experiencing homelessness (YEH) are designed with limited input from the youth themselves. This study explored the experiences and recommendations for services aimed at mitigating the negative effects of homelessness among youth. A total of 45 interviews were conducted with YEH (ages 15 to 24, M = 21.5 years) who experienced at least one night of homelessness. Transcripts were coded by using a modified constructivist grounded theory approach. YEH reported myriad challenges to navigating disjointed programming and misguided policies. Recommendations from YEH for policy and programmatic change include peacekeeping and diffusion training for program staff, trauma-informed approaches, and conflict resolution among agency staff; and integrate creative outlets and transitional services into existing programs. Programming supporting YEH must extend beyond meeting only basic needs to creating opportunities for safety, autonomy, and growth. Programs targeting youth homelessness need input from YEH in their design and implementation.


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