More than 4 percent of adolescents and 10 percent of young adults nationwide were living on the street, in cars or shelters, or couch-surfing at some point in the last year, according to a sweeping study by the University of Chicago released Wednesday.
The study, “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America,” was based on random phone surveys of 26,000 young people ages 13 to 25, and represents one of the most accurate, wide-ranging overviews ever conducted of homeless youth, a group whose numbers have long eluded researchers, educators and social workers, homeless advocates said.
“We just haven’t had definitive numbers like this before,” said Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project, a state agency. “It’s fantastic to have this data, but the numbers are staggering. We as a country really have to face the truth about youth homelessness. I hope this report finally spurs us into action.”