Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some 3,800 young people homeless in New York

An estimated 3,800 people under age 24 go homeless each night in New York City, but they blend in so well they are hard for social workers to find, according to the city's first-ever census of homeless youth.

Three-fourths come from minority groups, with black youths accounting for nearly half the total and Latino youths representing a quarter, said the survey, released on Friday

Gay, lesbian and bisexual youths were especially vulnerable, accounting for nearly a third of homeless cases.

"Young people who are homeless take great care to look like everyone else. They're unbelievably creative in their ability to find ways to make it look like they're not homeless at all," said Margo Hirsch, executive director of the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, which conducted the survey for the city.

While many homeless youth found temporary shelter with a friend or a relative, some 1,600 reported spending nights on the street, in an abandoned building or in a bus or train.

Selling sex, another 150 spent nights with a clients.

The count was conducted in July and surveyed just under 1,000 youth who were either homeless or at risk for homelessness.

Earlier this year, the New York City Department of Homeless Services reported that 3,755 New Yorkers of all ages, out of a total population of 8.2 million people, were living without shelter on any given night, down from 4,395 in 2005.

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