Based on rich interview data drawn from a large scale longitudinal study of homeless young people, this book examines the personal, familial and structural factors that impact on homeless young people’s long-term outcomes. While telling the personal stories of young people’s experiences, the book refers to the wider research and policy literature on youth homelessness, engaging with key debates about the causes and meanings of homelessness in western societies. The book addresses important issues such as employment and education, engagement with services, social support, connection to family and friends, as well as personal factors including physical and mental health, sexual practices and drug use.
Homeless young people are typically portrayed as leading chaotic, risky lives, trapped in a downward spiral of drug use, mental and other health problems, and long-term homelessness. By giving voice to young homeless people, this book challenges this stereotype and demonstrates young people's capacity to move out of homelessness and make satisfactory lives for themselves.
Research findings are positioned in the context of a broad, international literature on youth homelessness and is important reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of psychology, sociology, youth and social work as well as researchers, policy makers and service providers in all western cultures.