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.
"The central chapters (5 through 8) would make excellent reading ... for undergraduate upper division seminars and graduate programs in child and adolescent development, contemporary social issues, and/or training for social workers and educators." – Cynthia C. Siebel in PsycCRITIQUES
"This is the best book that has yet been written on homeless youth. Through following young people over time, the authors identify four pathways of homelessness with different origins and outcomes. They bring these homeless youth alive by presenting them in their own voices, using abundant interview material. The book will be highly valuable to anyone who seeks to understand or ameliorate the problems of homeless youth." – Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Clark University USA
"This research project is timely and useful. Homelessness amongst young people is a significant problem and this book provides a positive focus on the structural causes, giving a voice to the young people who are experiencing homelessness. It is a helpful tool for study and also will provide constructive information for lobbying on homelessness issues." – Narelle Clay, CEO of Southern Youth and Family Services, Australia