Arizona's Homeless Youth
• It is estimated that each
day in Arizona 1,780 youth under 18 are on their own and
homeless. In February 2004, only 78 youth under 18 were
documented to be living in a motel, shelter or in transitional housing.
• In 2004, Arizona law enforcement agencies filed 5,534
arrest reports for runaways. The number of runaway reports annually has been slowly
increasing over the past several years.
• In 2004, there were an estimated 59 beds know as
emergency community beds that can serve homeless youth, as well as 66 transitional
• According to the 2003 Homeless Youth Survey by the
Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona’s homeless youth programs served a
diverse population. For youth under age 18, 57 percent of the homeless youth served were
white, not Hispanic; 26 percent were Hispanic; 11 percent were African American; and 5
percent were American Indian. The youth were slightly more likely to be female (56 percent).
• Half of the homeless youth under 18 receiving
community-based services noted that they were abandoned or ran away from home.
• In a survey of 250 homeless youth in Tucson, 32
percent indicated they had been physicallyabused as children and 58 percent noted they had
experienced emotional or verbal abuse as children. Thirty percent of these children ran away
from home because of problems and 29 percent were kicked out of their homes.
• The Arizona State
Legislature established a Homeless Youth Intervention
Program (HYIP) which began on January 1, 2000 with an appropriation
of $400,000 per year in federal TANF block grant funds.
• The goal of the HYIP program is family reunification
or increased self-sufficiency skills for the youth when family reunification is not an option. The
program’s focus is to provide 24-hour crisis services, family reunification, job training
and employment assistance, assistance in obtaining shelter, transitional and independent living
services, character education and other services necessary to meet the needs for the youth to
• The HYIP direct service providers include Tumbleweed
Center for Youth Development, Open
Inn, Inc. and Our Town Family Center. The providers
serve Maricopa, Pima and Yavapai
• Of the youths served in fiscal year 2004 by the
program, 63 percent reported being abused (e.g., physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse); 66
percent reported being raised in a home where drugs or alcohol were used by their parents; 78
percent of the youth reported running away from home or being kicked out of their home.
Additionally, more than one-third of youths served reported mental health problems.
• The HYIP program was able to contact 73 percent of
youth referred. Ninety-two percent of youth who agreed to meet with HYIP staff
went on to participate in services. The majority of youth completed some goals and 58 percent
of youth had a positive resolution through family reunification.
• Since the beginning of the HYIP program in February
2000, 697 youth have been referred to
the program. Sixty-five percent have engaged in some
type of service.
2 All information is from: The
Current Status of Homelessness in Arizona and Efforts to
Prevent and Alleviate Homelessness, Arizona Department
of Economic Security, November 2004 (Tucson survey is
from December 2003 report), with the exception of the
arrest report information on runaways. This is from DPS,
“Crime in Arizona: 2004” report.
Information provided by staff at Tumbleweed Center for