December 18, 2012
Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Runaway and Homeless Youth
There are an estimated 3,800 runaway and homeless youth in New York City at any given time, according to the Empire Coalition of Youth and Family Services. As with the adult homeless population, being homeless puts young people at greater risk of physical and emotional trauma which can lead to or intensify mental health issues. When left untreated, these mental health concerns can have a lasting impact on the life of a young person that continues into adulthood.
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) services provide a young person with not only a safe place to stay, but also with links to much-needed mental health services and other important health, educational and workforce services. In New York City, the Department of Youth and Community Development funds and oversees RHY programs throughout the city. Unfortunately, because of overwhelming demand, RHY providers must turn away hundreds of youth from shelter beds each month.
On December 14, 2012, CCC testified before the City Council about the need for increased access to supportive housing, mental health services and family therapy for runaway and homeless youth and issued the following recommendations: