Arizona has fewer shelter beds for homeless youth than it has in years, more young people becoming homeless, and high rates of sex and labor trafficking among homeless youth, research shows.

This month, the National Homelessness Law Center gave the state a “critically low” score in its annual review of laws and policies that impact homeless youth. Only two states, North Dakota and Arkansas, received worse scores.

A report from the Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research released earlier this year found that 40% of people interviewed who were experiencing homelessness between the ages of 18 to 25 had experienced sex or labor trafficking.

LGBTQ youth are even more likely to be exploited, the report found.

The most significant provider of youth shelter and services, Tumbleweed, went bankrupt in 2016, and most of its services folded and have not been replaced.

“What we’re seeing here in Maricopa County is so distressing. Almost all of our youth homeless programs have disintegrated,” ASU professor Dominique Roe-Sepowitz said.

But some relief could be on the way. The state has committed a significant amount of federal COVID-19 relief funds for more shelter and services for homeless youth.

Few services, high rates of youth homelessness

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.