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Hidden Homelessness: Youth Voices — The Search for Home and Hope for the Future [Anthony’s Story]

Hidden Homelessness: Youth Voices is a youth storytelling series developed by SchoolHouse Connection that highlights the often overlooked and unseen experiences that define child and youth homelessness. Under the education subtitle of federal law (the McKinney-Vento Act), the definition of homelessness includes common situations for families and youth experiencing homelessness, including living in cars, temporarily staying with others, and in “substandard housing” — all of which are exemplified in this essay.

Living in “substandard housing” is considered an experience of homelessness by the McKinney-Vento Act if “the setting in which the family, child, or youth is staying living lacks one of the fundamental utilities such as water, electricity, or heat; is infested with vermin or mold; lacks a basic functional part, such as a working kitchen or a working toilet; or may present unreasonable dangers to adults, children, or persons with disabilities” (USED Guidance, March 2017, A-3).

Youth experiencing homelessness in these conditions face comparable trauma and challenges as those who live unsheltered, but are often harder to identify and are either not considered to be homeless or not prioritized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), thus making them unable to obtain homelessness assistance through HUD.

Hidden Homelessness: Youth Voices seeks to raise awareness of these realities of homelessness experienced by youth across the nation.

This is Anthony’s story.

"As I sit here in my dorm room at UCLA, I think back on the journey I took to get here. Dealing with Child Protective Services, foster care, drug and alcohol addictions in the home, homelessness, learning disabilities, school changes, domestic violence, and more all took a toll on me... [Now,] I have a bed, a desk, and three meals a day. Most students don’t understand how much that means to some of us. They haven’t walked in my shoes and could never comprehend that having a room, a bathroom, and three meals each day is a luxury. More than that, I feel secure. Every night when I go to sleep, I know I am safe. I know when I wake up in the morning, I won’t have hunger pains because I will have breakfast available for me. I don’t need to seek out a place to study because my desk in my room works just fine. I now have a home and hope for the future."

Read Anthony's Story
SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. We provide strategic advocacy and practical assistance in partnership with early childhood programs, schools, institutions of higher education, service providers, families, and youth. We believe education is the only permanent solution to homelessness. Learn about us.
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