As counselors we're going to go the streets and try to reach
these kids! We are going to try and try again. We will walk
the streets week after week never knowing the number of kids
that we are reaching. We may never know, that a few years
from now, a youngster was able to leave the streets because
of the commitment and work we are doing today. Don't give
up. They need us!
The single greatest need, for homeless and street kids is
our continuous caring and real support. We must convince them
that we care, we want them back, and we want to help them
get off the streets.
Who Needs the Help?
A viable street outreach program is not solely concerned with
finding homeless kids who are interested in staying in a shelter.
While identifying kids, who may require shelter assistance,
we must also provide support to those who, for one reason
or another; (1) have to live on the streets, (2) aren't ready
for more of the establishment, (3) are afraid to go to a shelter,
(4) have a police record and fear incarceration or (5) are
afraid that they will be sent home.
While the above is not all encompassing, we can now identify
why kids will not or cannot enter a shelter at this time.
However, they still require our assistance to insure that
when they are ready, we will be there to help them get off
Kids at Risk
The definition of the word risk: danger, hazard, jeopardy,
and peril. While these words may be realistically interchangeable,
looking at them individually we find that; (1) danger is exposure
or vulnerability to harm (2) hazard is a chance of being injured
or harmed, (3) jeopardy is danger or risk of loss or injury,
and (I) peril is a condition of imminent danger, exposure
to the risk of harm or loss. Therefore, when we speak of “kids
at risk” we are, in all reality, defining kids that
are in fact in grave danger. Kids whose viability can literally
be measured in the foreseeable future. Kids who are in desperate
need of critical and immediate support if they are to survive!
Where are the Kids?
Kids are living on the streets in major cities, small towns,
and in most suburbs in the United States. But don't take living
on the streets literally. Some kids manage to stay with other
kids they meet in cheap hotels/motels, parks, and even in
other states. However, many street kids are forced to live
on the beaches, in the parks and abandoned buildings, on the
streets, and in many other unsavory places.
To survive, kids make money by pan handling, selling drugs
and shoplifting (survival crime), and hustling or prostitution
(survival sex). Understandably, a street kid cannot survive
on a daily basis while attempting to save enough money to
make the deposit on an apartment. Remember, more than 500
thousand kids are still under the age of 15. No 15 year old
can legally work or rent an apartment!
There are shelters in some cities. However, most of those
shelters have no beds for homeless or street kids. But, for
the sake of an argument, let’s assume that each state
can shelter 5,000 homeless and street kids. Now, if we had
those 250,000 beds, we would still need another MILLION beds
if we were to shelter every homeless and street kid who had
no place to stay! To shelter every homeless and street kid,
every state would need more than 25,000 beds.
If there’s a youth shelter in your city, call them
and ask how long a 15 year old can stay?
Now, we let you draw your own conclusions. Do you think that
we’ll ever have enough beds to protect every homeless
and street kid? So, until that day comes, our commitment is
to go to the streets and help as best we can, and never give
So, Who are These Kids?
Street kids are just that: without a home or a guardian. While
most street kids are living on the streets, some do come up
with money to live in hotels/motels off and on. Mainly they
live under bridges, in dumpsters, and just about anyplace
you can think of.
Homeless kids are without a parent or guardian: they live
in hotels, motels, apartments, or with friends. For some,
they are just a breath away from becoming a street kid.