Chicago, IL — Through its Youth Housing and Outreach Programs, The Night Ministry offers a lifeline to teens and young adults identified in a new study as being disproportionately at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Research released by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago on the prevalence of youth homelessness in America reveals that young people who are pregnant or parenting, identify as LGBTQ, or lack a high school education are more likely to be homeless or unstably housed.
According to the report, "Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America," single parenting or pregnant youth are twice as likely to experience homelessness; LGBTQ youth have a 120% higher risk of being homeless, and youth with less than a high school diploma are more than three times as likely to be homeless.
"The research also points to the benefits of addressing the specific needs of young people in these populations," said Paul W. Hamann, CEO & President of The Night Ministry. "At The Night Ministry, we are doing just that on a daily basis through our Youth Housing and Outreach Programs."
Last year, The Night Ministry housed 399 homeless youth and 43 of their children through its Youth Housing Programs, one of which, the Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program ( RAPPP ), is dedicated solely to pregnant and parenting young mothers and their infants and toddlers. The only shelter in the city of Chicago that reserves beds for homeless parenting and pregnant mothers as young as 14, RAPPP provides 120 days of housing as well as a safe and nurturing environment that fosters stability and positive parenting skills.
All of The Night Ministry's Youth Programs affirm the gender identities and sexual orientations of all those the organization serves. The Night Ministry's Youth Outreach Team connects with LGBTQ youth on the streets of Chicago, offering nonjudgmental support and identifying those who are at-risk of becoming homeless. In 2011, The Night Ministry opened The Crib, Chicago's first emergency overnight shelter for young adults ages 18 to 24. The Crib operates as a safe haven for many homeless LGBTQ youth, and today it is held up as a model for its LGBTQ-competent services.
Earlier this year, The Night Ministry opened the doors of a groundbreaking youth housing program. Phoenix Hall provides homeless students from Chicago's North Lawndale College Prep High School with a safe, stable residence while they pursue their academic goals. Residents can stay until they graduate from North Lawndale College Prep, and they receive the support services in school, at Phoenix Hall, and in the community that help them obtain their high school diploma.
"Chapin Hall's research represents a significant step forward in understanding the scope and experience of youth homelessness in America," said Hamann. "At The Night Ministry, we continually examine the data we gather from our programs and listen to the young people we serve. It is in this way that we can meet homeless youth where they are at while offering them support to improve their lives on a daily basis."
See www.thenightministry.org .