Seattle is a wealthy city. Home to successful companies such as Microsoft and Boeing, Seattle has enjoyed relative prosperity over the last several decades, more than most US cities. Yet sadly, each night as many as 1000 teenage children sleep on the streets of Seattle, with no place to call home.
Who are these kids? The gross misconception is that either these children are on the streets by choice, or that they somehow deserve this fate. Alone and on their own, some as young as twelve, the reality is that many, if not most, of these kids have been abandoned by their parents, tossed out like and old mattress. And once they are on the streets their prospects for a prosperous, productive future diminish rapidly. Once homelessness sets in, their future is cast in stone... almost.
The Foster Care system works for a few, but the reality is that in most cases it just delays the onset of homelessness. Even for those who make it into the system, many get through unadopted, and once the kids turn 18 the Foster system drops them like hot lead.
There are organizations in many urban centers that offer help and services to homeless youth. While most of these organizations have been ravaged by the effects of the recession and rapidly shrinking government budgets, they still offer the best chance for redemption. These programs can offer a range of services including meals, housing, education, counseling, life-skills and job training. But shrinking budgets have meant cutbacks in services, at a time when the number of kids needing help is growing.