I He(art) Justice 2017: Helping Homeless Youth

Emphasis Area: Helping Homeless Youth


Homelessness is one of the threads that runs through many of Texas Appleseed’s projects, including juvenile and criminal justice reform, foster care reform, and our work of dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Young people who “age out” of Texas’ foster care system are significantly more likely to become homeless. Those who are homeless are more likely to become involved in the juvenile or criminal justice system. Homeless students are more likely to have problems at school and may be at increased risk of becoming involved in the school-to-prison pipeline. 


Texas Appleseed is working to educate homeless youth of their rights, responsibilities and available resources, but also to reform laws and policies so that the important systems in Texas designed to help these youth do not ultimately fail them. 

Background Statistics

  • Ten percent of the nation’s homeless youth are in Texas. 
  • During the 2014-15 school year, Texas districts identified 113,294 students as homeless. Nearly 16,000 of these were “unaccompanied” by a parent or guardian.

Personal Story

When she was 16, Madison’s mother kicked her out after an argument. She moved from house to house, staying with friends.  She was without a permanent address three or four times during that period, and eventually was placed in foster care. Foster care was challenging – Madison estimates she had 12 or 13 caseworkers during the short time she was in care.  While she was in care she lived in a children’s shelter. Living in the shelter made getting to her school challenging. It wasn’t until she found a transitional living program with a nonprofit that serves homeless youth that she was able to get back on track with school and work toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

Additional Interest Areas

Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Criminal Justice Reform

Fair Financial Services

Fair Housing

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