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Handbook Aims To Help Texas Homeless Youth

A group of experts have come together to offer a solution to help the thousands of homeless youth living on streets across Texas.

Rebecca is a former homeless youth that the authors of the book met earlier this year at a youth shelter. She appears with her son in the photo.

A group of experts have come together to offer a solution to help the thousands of homeless youth living on streets across Texas.

Texas school districts identified more than 100,000 students living on the streets in the last school year. So, staff from the non-profit group Texas Appleseed, the law firm Baker and McKenzie and the oil company Weatherford, wrote a handbook designed to help them.

It provides information about the rights homeless youth have and the resources that are available to them. The handbook covers topics such as education, health care and housing.

“Oftentimes homeless youth don’t necessarily know, you know, how to get an ID, how to take a driver’s test, how to file their taxes,” says Gabriella McDonald, director of pro bono and new projects with Texas Appleseed. “Remember, we are talking about youth between the ages of 14 through 24, so these kids are going into adulthood and they may not necessarily have a parent to teach them those things.”

Angela Vigil, a pro bono partner for Baker and McKenzie, is one of the authors of the handbook. Vigil explains one of the challenges for homeless youth is that they can easily end up in vicious cycles within the criminal justice system.

“If you don’t have anywhere to stay, you often get picked up by police more often and we have a very serious problem of criminalization of homelessness as if the characteristic itself is a crime,” Vigil says.

Copies of the handbook will be sent to schools, libraries, public agencies and advocacy groups upon request.

 

More information:

Homeless Youth Handbook Digital Version

 

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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