I Too Have a Problem with Housing: One Youth's Reflection



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I Too Have a Problem with Housing: One Youth's Reflection

By Phillip Wallace
Hello my name is Phillip Wallace. I am 19 years old and work for the Young Women’s Project (YWP). Today in DC, a high percentage of teens and young adults have problems with housing. Some may not know how to prepare for housing, others go though abuse and neglect within homes. Many teens move place to place and lack stable housing.

Day by day, more teens and young adult become homeless. In my research, I discovered on a website called datacenter.org that in February 2013 (last year) 5% of DCPS students were reported homeless. That’s about 2,453 youth. I also researched that 75% of homeless youth are ages 16-24 and were too disconnected in school and unemployed. The point in time count conducted by the community partnership for the prevention of homelessness counted 2,478 youth in shelters in DC alone. Teens may be experiencing abuse and neglect in homes too. Who wants to live in a place where they are neglected and beaten? Statistics say that’s a “big” cause of teen homelessness. Some teens and young adults live like nomads, living place to place because of unstable problems, causing them to eventually become homeless.

I too have a problem with housing. I went from living with family, to living place to place, to becoming homeless, then to been accepted into a transitional program. Living with family has been a struggle for me. My mother had a lot of kids, so we never got what we wanted. After a long period of time of fending for myself, I started moving place to place with family and friends. That didn’t last long because I started owing people money that I did not have. That made me become homeless. Being homeless I had to really fin for myself. It was hard going to school and focusing on the work because I had to worry about where I was going to sleep, eat, and take a shower. It was hard trying to find a job or get into a school because of not having an address. Being homeless made me lose friends, weight, and my feelings towards people. After being homeless for awhile I searched and searched to I found a program called Sasha Bruce. It's a good place for a youth that's in my position or greater to move forward in life. Sasha Bruce helps me with a place to stay, transportation, food, clothing, and all types of life skills I'll need to know for the future. Sasha Bruce also gives counseling, helping you move on from your past and on to the future, that's very helpful when trying to succeed.

In order to improve the issues regarding homelessness for adolescents, it should be more housing programs for youth. People should be able to eat normally, keep up good hygiene, and travel safe. Youth need help keeping up with school, jobs and long term housing. If there were more housing programs in the district, it would have a great impact on housing for homeless and disconnected youth.