They are the hidden ones living under a different roof each week.

By no fault of their own, they are outcasts without a home. They are teens missing football games and school dances to work extra shifts to pay for another meal. They are poor and battling the world alone.

“Homeless youth, is one of those things that sort of perplexes people,” said Kristyn Conner, director of development at Youth On Their Own, a dropout prevention program in Tucson. “It is out of sight and out of mind. With adult homelessness, you can see it. But with homeless youth, it is different because they aren’t actually living on the streets as much as their adult counterparts.”

In its most recent report, the state Department of Education reported 28,391 enrolled homeless children and youth in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. This number ranks Arizona in the top five worst states having homeless youth. However, this number does not include homeless youth not enrolled in school.


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