Advocates Say Homelessness Among Youth Is Growing, Long-Term Solutions Needed | New Hampshire Public Radio

Advocates Say Homelessness Among Youth Is Growing, Long-Term Solutions Needed

Feb 22, 2021

Waypoint Street Outreach Workers seek out young people who are homeless or without stable housing to provide them with basic needs and survival items and connect them to services.
Credit Waypoint

Advocates say now is the time to pursue lasting solutions for youth homelessness, a growing problem that may soon become unmanageable. That's according to Erin Kelly, Director of Homeless Youth and Young Adult Services for Waypoint, a private, nonprofit agency. A major study, Kelly says, estimates 14,000 to 15,000 young people are likely to  experience some form of homelessness or housing instability in New Hampshire this year. Contributing factors include addiction, mental illness, and generational poverty, Kelly says. Waypoint is now planning to establish two new drop-in centers -- in Rochester and in Concord -- where young adults who are homeless can go during the day for food and shelter. Manchester has had such a drop-in center for 20 years.  But there are no overnight shelters for these young people, and some end up in adult shelters, which are not appropriate settings for them, Kelly says. "We need investment now," she says. "Or things will worsen."

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can call Waypoint  at 1-800-640-6486. Or you can also call 211. 

Air date: Feb. 23, 2021

GUESTS:

  • Ariel Hayes  - Coordinator of the forthcoming Youth Resource Center Drop-in Rochester (the plan is to open the center this year). She has also worked as a case manager and street outreach specialist for Waypoint, a private, nonprofit agency that provides an array of human services, includiing child abuse prevention, intervention, treatment; foster care; adoption; in-home family strengthening, support, preservation; services for children with developmental or chronic health concerns; parent education; homeless youth & young adult services; homecare for seniors. 
  • Erin Kelly - Director of Homeless Youth  and Young Adult Services at Waypoint  She has been working in homeless youth services for more than 12 years and is also the chair of the Manchester Continuum of Care and a member of the Governor’s Council on Housing Stability. 

For information on Waypoint's March 26 SleepOut fundraising event -- "a night spent out in the cold to raise community consciousness and critical funds that will transform the lives of homeless youth and get another step closer to ending youth homelessness in NH" -- visit here or contact Waypoint at sleepout@waypointnh.org 

Read the report, Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness In Americaby Voices of Youth Count, a national policy research initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.