“To improve the overall wellbeing and safety of homeless forgotten youth ages 13-21
by extending a helping hand to those youth whose lives may be in disarray”
Congress first passed the Runaway Youth Act, a federal law to respond to the crisis of runaway youth in America, in 1974. Policy makers recognized that children who ran away from home often did so because of severe family dysfunction, frequently marked by violence, abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, and rejection. RHYA provides federal funding for community based housing and critical services for homeless youth instead of criminalizing and incarcerating minors who run away or are ejected from their homes.
During the 40th Anniversary of the Runaway Youth Act, the Federal Youth Services Bureau released data from eleven different cities. The Bureau conducted surveys with 656 homeless youth ages 14-21, giving a stark picture of life for youth living on the streets in America.
• 51% of youth surveyed became homeless because they were asked to leave home,
24% were homeless because they couldn’t find a job and
23% were homeless because of being physically abused or beaten.
• On average, the young people had been homeless for a total of
23.4 months and reported first becoming homeless at age 15
• Nearly 40% of the youth surveyed identified as LGBTQ
• More than half of the youth had slept or rested outside on a street, in a park or on a bench
Sea Haven Promises To:
• Challenge bias and hateful statements
• Call youth by their name and pronouns of their choice
• Accept everyone where they are
• Not make assumptions
• Value everyone
• Never discriminate against anyone