Skyler Azrael has lived in group homes and on Tucson streets for five years since he said his mom kicked him out of the house. Today, he’s 21 years old and spends his days in downtown Tucson. At night, he sleeps where he can.

“I just find the most safest spots, where I won’t get bothered, keep to myself mostly,” Azrael said. “It’s pretty much survival each day. You don’t got that survival instinct, you ain’t going to live out there.”

Skyler fits the profile of homeless youth described in a study by the U.S. Administration for Children and Family. It surveyed 873 homeless youth in 11 cities and found more than half became homeless when a parent or caregiver ordered them to leave. Homeless youth on average leave home at 15 and spend two years on the streets.

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