Take a Closer Look
The Take a Closer Look campaign is to raise awareness of this issue of youth homelessness and how invisible homeless teens are in Snohomish County. The focal point of the campaign is more than a dozen lifelike mannequins called “Somebodies” that are faceless figures representing homeless teens. Each figure wears a sweatshirt that sheds light on why a teen may become homeless – or a resulting threat to their wellbeing, and is accompanied by a floor sticker that provides more information on youth homelessness plus ways the community can help.
What Does Youth Homelessness Look Like?
Young people become homeless for many reasons. Young people are kicked out by their parents, runaway from abusive situations, are not accepted for their sexual orientation, or an array of other reasons. Young people do not initially become homeless because they don’t have a job. In fact, many aren’t eligible for employment because they are under 16.
Young people experiencing homelessness find themselves living in campgrounds, cars, abandoned buildings or couch surfing on couches of friends or strangers. Young people on the streets are lonely, scared, hungry and desperate. They are at a high risk of exploitation, victimization by drug dealers, or assault. Without assistance most of these young people are at extremely high risk of becoming homeless adults plagued by chronic homelessness, unemployment and poverty.
What the community can do to help a homeless young person
· Recognize the young person may need help and show compassion and empathy.
· Refer them to services at Cocoon House or any other youth program.
· Inform Cocoon House of areas where we can focus our outreach efforts.
· If you are a young person (12-24) in need of support or services text/call 425.877.5171.
Facts about Youth Homelessness
· 2,500 students were homeless last year as reported by Snohomish County schools.
· 40% of youth identify as LQBTQ and are often kicked out simply for that reason.
· The average age a teen becomes homeless is 14 and a half years old.
· Within 48 hours a teen on the street will be approached by a sexual predator, drug dealer, or gang.
What the Community Should Know
· We can only solve the issue of homelessness if we work together.
· You don’t know what teen is homeless and what teen is not.
· This is a hidden issue in our community but it is an issue that should not be ignored.
· To make our community better, we must provide support to our most vulnerable.
· Young people who are homeless, are homeless because they have no other safe option.
Cocoon House has seen an increase in young people experiencing homelessness in our community. Take a Closer Look is an opportunity to bring the youth homelessness issue to the public.
Learn more about Cocoon House by clicking here.
Watch our PSA here.