Arizona's Homeless Youth

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 housing beds.

• 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.

Arizona Action

• 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 achieve self-sufficiency.

• 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 Youth Development.

Tumbleweed Center For Youth Development - 1419 N. 3rd St. #102 Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Phone: 602.271.9904 | 24-hour crisis hotline: 602.841.5799 | Toll free number: 1.866.SAFE703