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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3010.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #108663

A street-based survey of homeless youth and young adults in Boston

Alice Rouse, MPH, RYSE: Reaching Youth on the Streets, Starlight Ministries, 2 San Juan Street, Boston, MA 02118, 617-442-7704, alice_rouse@yahoo.com

Purpose: The purpose of this research was to explore homeless and street-involved youths' histories of substance abuse, service utilization, and experience with social service agencies. Methods: 81 youth (between 14 and 24 years old) who were homeless or at imminent risk for homelessness were sampled from street sites. Outreach workers delivered an oral questionnaire to these youth asking questions about their histories of substance abuse, service utilization, and experience with social service agencies, amongst other items. The percentage of youth who reported involvement in each category was calculated. Regression analyses were used to examine differences in the risk of involvement across gender, ethnicity, age, and length of time homeless. Results: Respondents reported a high rate of substance abuse and low rate of service utilization. With a few exceptions, ethnic identity was not a significant predictor of substance abuse or under use of services. Length of time homeless was not associated with higher rates of substance abuse. Conclusions: Homeless youth sampled from the streets, as opposed to a shelter or clinic based sample, have alarmingly high rates of substance abuse and low rates of service utilization. The overall rates of substance abuse are significantly higher than those reported in national samples of adolescents. These findings should be taken into account when developing interventions or offering services to street youth.

Learning Objectives:

  • Results will be presented from a 2004 street-based survey of 81 homeless and street-involved youth in Boston, MA. At the conclusion of the session, the participants will be able to

    Keywords: Adolescents, Homelessness

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

    [ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

    Concerns of Homeless Families and Children

    The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA