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Lobbying: Advocating For Homeless Youth In Philadelphia

 

           I’m lobbying for better advocacy for homeless teenagers and children in the city of Philadelphia. Often time the people of Philadelphia will look down on homeless people and families not realizing that sometimes good people get caught up in unfortunate situations. I think that if we start to change the way the homeless are viewed than homeless teenagers will feel more comfortable seeking help.         

            In 2008 The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Homeless Health Initiative confirmed that “the number of children under the age of 17 experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia grew from 3,433 in 2008 to 3,582 in 2009 — a four percent increase.”  With more and more children and teens becoming homeless every year it’s clear we have a problem.

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And the two biggest supporters of the cities young homeless population are the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest Philadelphia and “CHOP’s” Homeless Health Initiative. IHN is designed to help find housing for or give referrals to the homeless while HHI help to provide dental and medical services to homeless children.

            Currently there is no law in place to advocate for the homeless youth to find shelter, have access to clean resources or help them get into contact with companies that might know how to help them. However they are laws that state that homeless children are still required to go to school.  To me there is a disconnect in our thinking and I would like to propose that we change how we define homeless youth so that more children can be helped and that we mandate that children under 17 be forced to live in a shelter and be accounted for as opposed to wandering the streets.

Links:

Interfaith Hospitality Network: http://www.philashelter.org/

Homeless Health Initiative: http://www.chop.edu/about/chop-in-the-community/homeless-health-initiative/home.html