Homeless Youth Shelters

Homeless Youth

There are youth shelters throughout the United States but there are far fewer of them than adult shelters and sometimes they don’t advertise their location for safety reasons. Often youth shelters are not included in resources listing. For example: I did a quick search for all shelters in Duluth, MN through Homeless Shelters | Find Homeless Shelters | Homeless Shelter Search and the local youth shelter was not listed, despite having a website and generally being as visible as a youth shelter can be. This means that children and youth find out about shelters through other homeless children and youth, or through the staff at the adult shelters.

Adult shelters will not take children without an accompanying adult and sometimes they will turn away families because they have children – other times they will turn away adults without children, it all depends on the shelter. So homeless kids without a guardian frequently sleep and survive on the street.

A few years back, I interviewed a few people at the Life House youth shelter in Duluth MN and they made some very interesting points about the unique challenges in securing funding for a youth shelter. They admitted that many children in Duluth were forced to sleep outside because the shelter simply did not have enough beds. But they also said the funding wasn’t JUST for beds. Homeless children need an adult support network, schooling, counseling, positive discipline tactics, stability and a litany of other things that can’t be found in an adult shelter or on the street. While the Life House provides all of these things, they have to PAY the adults to do them.

That particular town had an extensive network of services for children, including a very active foster care program and a crisis shelter (usually used by parents who need childcare while addressing an emergency) through Lutheran Social Services (http://www.lssmn.org) as well as several abuse-oriented shelters and programs. Yet, the local homeless service providers estimated that at least 25–30 kids were sleeping on the streets every night. Duluth MN is not a big city. It’s a small-to-medium sized market, at best.

Minneapolis is a city (not a BIG city like New York, but a city) and it has a significantly larger population of homeless youth. There are shelters: Youth Shelter Information But there’s never enough resources to meet the overwhelming need.

Here is where I see the BIGGEST problem in all of this: I have heard it said that a child generally lasts about 20 minutes before someone on the street snatches them. Pimps, child abusers and human traffickers of all kinds recognize a runaway or otherwise desperate child and lures them away with promises of food and shelter. 20 minutes!

I personally experienced being lured. I was 16 years old, traveling alone, reading a book in a Milwaukee bus station. Two pimps sat themselves down on either side of me and proceeded to play good-cop-bad-cop, trying to entice or force me out of my chair and into the street – with them. The fact that I knew a) exactly what was happening and b) how to get rid of them tells you something about the people in my life at that time. While I was street smart enough to recognize and avoid that situation, I also had someplace to go. I was hungry and completely out of money, but I had a bus ticket and a destination. I could skip a meal or two.

How long did it take them to find me? I don’t know when they identified me as a target because I’d been in the city a few hours, but when they approached me I’d been sitting at the bus station for about 20 minutes.

Place a child/youth who is naive or desperate in that situation and these guys can get away with pretty much anything. Having enough shelters with enough beds for every child in need of help is a life and death matter for homeless children.

Sadly, that’s not our current reality.

Originally posted on Quora in answer to the question: Where can homeless youth (under 18) find shelter in the USA?

Also see:

A Dragon’s Triumphant Cry

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Wordery.com

He dropped the mackerel at Hiccup’s feet, did three somersaults in a row and landed on Hiccup’s head. He let out the dragon’s cry of triumph, which is a bit like a rooster crowing but a lot louder and more self-satisfied.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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Admiration List: Lisa Kristine

Lisa Kristine is an international humanitarian photographer whose work is breathtakingly beautiful. One of her areas of focus is modern day slavery, which has led her to extremely dangerous places and situations, where she has photographed the slaves themselves. Her TED talks covers the reality of modern day slavery and her own experiences as a photographer investigating this horrendous crime:

 

I must admit to feeling both admiration and envy over Ms. Kristine’s career. Her work as a photographer documenting indigenous cultures is itself worthy of admiration. The fact that she takes the opportunity, and the risk, to document human rights violations and the manifestation of evil that is slavery is highly commendable. I would welcome the opportunity to meet Ms. Kristine or hear her speak in person.

Brash Confidence

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I’d never met anyone with Emma’s brash confidence. Everything about her exuded it: the way she carried herself, with shoulders thrown back; the hard set of her teeth when she made up her mind about something; the way she ended every sentence with a declarative period, never a question mark. It was infectious and I loved it, and I had to fight a sudden urge to kiss her, right there in front of everyone.

Hugh coughed, and bees tumbled out of his mouth to form a question mark that shivered in the air. “How can you be so bloody sure?” he asked.

Because I am, that’s all.” And she brushed her hands as if that were that.

 

-Hollow City: The Second Novel in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

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A complete list of laws can be found here: U.S. Laws on Trafficking in Persons

Quotes From: Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

SEC. 102. PURPOSES AND FINDINGS.

    a) PURPOSES- The purposes of this division are to combat trafficking in persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.
    (b) FINDINGS- Congress finds that:
      (13) Involuntary servitude statutes are intended to reach cases in which persons are held in a condition of servitude through nonviolent coercion. In United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931 (1988), the Supreme Court found that section 1584 of title 18, United States Code, should be narrowly interpreted, absent a definition of involuntary servitude by Congress. As a result, that section was interpreted to criminalize only servitude that is brought about through use or threatened use of physical or legal coercion, and to exclude other conduct that can have the same purpose and effect.
      (14) Existing legislation and law enforcement in the United States and other countries are inadequate to deter trafficking and bring traffickers to justice, failing to reflect the gravity of the offenses involved. No comprehensive law exists in the United States that penalizes the range of offenses involved in the trafficking scheme. Instead, even the most brutal instances of trafficking in the sex industry are often punished under laws that also apply to lesser offenses, so that traffickers typically escape deserved punishment.
      (15) In the United States, the seriousness of this crime and its components is not reflected in current sentencing guidelines, resulting in weak penalties for convicted traffickers.
      (16) In some countries, enforcement against traffickers is also hindered by official indifference, by corruption, and sometimes even by official participation in trafficking.

SEC. 103. DEFINITIONS.

      (2) COERCION- The term `coercion’ means–
        (A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;
        (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or
        (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
      (3) COMMERCIAL SEX ACT- The term `commercial sex act’ means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
      (4) DEBT BONDAGE- The term `debt bondage’ means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.
      (5) INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE- The term `involuntary servitude’ includes a condition of servitude induced by means of–
        (A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or
        (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

SEC. 108. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TRAFFICKING.

        (a) MINIMUM STANDARDS- For purposes of this division, the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking applicable to the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking are the following:
          (1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
          (2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
          (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
          (4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

John Henry

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Wordey.com

At the other side of the runnel, the machine shrieked, groaned and rattled, and drilled. then all at once it shook and shuddered – wheezed – and stopped. Frantically, men worked to get it going again. But they couldn’t. It had collapsed! John Henry’s hammering still rang and echoed through the tunnel with a strong and steady beat.

Suddenly there was a great crash. Light streamed through the tunnel. John Henry had broken through! Wild cries of joy burst from the men. Still holding one of his hammers, John Henry stepped out into the glowing light of a dying day. It was the last step he ever took.

John Henry, An American Legend, by Ezra Jack Keats

Happy Black History Month!

More information about the Legend of John Henry:

Admiration List: Dr. Kate Transchel

Dr. Kate Transchel is a California Statue University history professor with many publications covering various aspects of Russian history. She is also a co-advisor to Stop Trafficking in Persons (STOP) which focuses on ending slavery in the United States.

Dr. Transchel gave a TED talk on the issue of slavery in the United States, which is something American citizens tend to believe does not exist. Actually, many people believe it cannot exist in the USA and any incidents uncovered by the police are some form of freakish anomaly. As Dr. Transchel’s talk illustrates, nothing could be further from the truth:

At the end of this speech, she provides a phone number and URL for the Polaris Project and the slavery hotline. Please visit this website and take not of the hotline because reporting slavery is everyone’s business and responsibility:

I would love to meet Dr. Transchel, discuss anti-slavery efforts and get her views on the Slave Free City project.

Tween Love

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Wordery.com

“Saukerl,” she laughed, and as she held up her hand, she knew completely that he was simultaneously calling her a Saumensch. I think that’s as close to love as eleven-year-olds can get.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015

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Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
(b)the person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention.

(3)In determining whether a person is being held in slavery or servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour, regard may be had to all the circumstances.

(4)For example, regard may be had—
(a)to any of the person’s personal circumstances (such as the person being a child, the person’s family relationships, and any mental or physical illness) which may make the person more vulnerable than other persons;
(b)to any work or services provided by the person, including work or services provided in circumstances which constitute exploitation within section 3(3) to (6).

(5)The consent of a person (whether an adult or a child) to any of the acts alleged to constitute holding the person in slavery or servitude, or requiring the person to perform forced or compulsory labour, does not preclude a determination that the person is being held in slavery or servitude, or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Human trafficking

(1)A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.

(2)It is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).

UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015

The issue of protection for overseas domestic workers was a frustrating one. The draft Bill was silent on the plight of hundreds of workers enslaved in households in the UK. But, following sustained pressure and hands-on advocacy in which Anti-Slavery supported Kalayaan and others, a historic vote was taken in the House of Lords which brought back domestic workers’ right to leave an abusive employer. Unfortunately, the government remained deaf to our arguments and passed its own amendment requiring domestic workers to receive a positive decision from the National Referral Mechanism confirming they have been trafficked before allowing them to change employers. It is a bad decision that will deter domestic workers who face abuse and exploitation from coming forward to the authorities. On the other hand, it is a major achievement in itself that the Act now contains a specific provision on overseas domestic workers which is a gateway to getting better protection for this vulnerable group of workers in future. The fight on that issue continues.

Another momentous shift in the Government’s position was the introduction of the requirement for large companies to annually report on efforts to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains. We worked with a coalition of NGOs, business and investors to persuade the Government that mandatory, rather than voluntary, disclosure in relation to company supply chains is the way forward.

It is a shame then that a loophole has been identified which allows companies hide their supply chains overseas as long as the goods they produce don’t end up in Britain. This, for example, means letting off the hook companies building sites for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Finally, a major shortcoming in the Act is the lack of an extraterritoriality of slavery offence. This means that a British citizen could abuse someone overseas and not be held to account back in UK.

Big step in the right direction but deficiencies leave us – and victims of modern slavery – wholly unsatisfied“, AntiSlavery.org, by Klara Skrivankova