Who we serve:
- Homeless teens and young adults between the ages of 12 – 23
- Homeless families with an teen or young adult (between the ages of 12 -23) in the family dynamic
- Homeless teenage and young parents
This means we have all ages living here at Casa de Belen — from infants to grandparents parenting a second time. Many of the people we serve aren’t any different that you, your children, family members or friends.
Why are youth homeless?
Causes of homelessness among youth usually fall into three interrelated categories:
- Family Problems — Disruptive family conditions are the principal reason that young people leave home. This could include physical and sexual abuse, strained relationships, addiction of a family member, and parental neglect
- Economic problems — Some youth become homeless when their families suffer financial crises resulting from lack of affordable housing, limited employment opportunities, insufficient wages, no medical insurance, or inadequate welfare benefits
- Residential instability — Some youth become homeless with their families, but are later separated from them by shelter, transitional housing, or child welfare policies . A history of foster care correlates with becoming homeless at an earlier age and remaining homeless for a longer period of time.
Some of our Demographics:
- About 60% of our youth residents report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and did not care
- Approximately 80% of our residents report they have experienced physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual abuse
- About 20% of our residents report they have had issues with substance abuse and approximately 80% come from homes with substance abuse issues
- Most of our residents come from families that have experienced generational poverty and their families are disproportionately poor or working class
- A majority of our residents report a history of family disruption — growing up in single-parent households or “blended” (i.e., stepparent) and a significant
number of our youth have not had significant contact with their non-custodial parent
- About 50% of our youth residents have been associated with child welfare involvement
- Approximately 45% of our residents report they have been diagnosed with or treated for mental health issues, however, behavioral problems, such as conduct or oppositional defiant disorder, are even more prevalent than mental health problems
- Our residents are pretty much equal when it comes to gender, with about 50% male and female clients
- Race/ethnicity— Our race/ethnicity distribution mimics that of our community
- Approximately 10% of our residents identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
- About 25% of our youth residents have had to repeat at least one grade in school
Many of our residents come with a long history of abuse and neglect, poor experiences of parenting, little self worth, and a deep conviction that they are going nowhere and they are worth nothing. Some of the youth we meet are living with physical or mental challenges, addiction, legal histories, and negative family influences. Many of the people we serve are overcoming obstacles caused by trauma they have experienced in their lives and are on the way to becoming champions!