High Rate of Homelessness Among Young Adults in San Jose
South Bay leaders are looking for new answers after a recent survey found San Jose to have the highest rate of homelessness among young people anywhere.
Among those 18 to 24, San Jose has 85 people per 100,000 living on the streets. That’s much higher than New York City and Los Angeles, which each have about 30 young adults per 100,000.
San Jose’s first-time homeless rate in this age group has doubled over the past five years.
Leaders at the Bill Wilson Center, which has been assisting families since 1973, say the cost of living and a large youth population are two factors behind the spike.
The federal government’s focus on older adults leads to young people and families slipping through the cracks.
“More and more we’re seeing homeless youth who come from homeless families,” Bill Wilson Center CEO Sparky Harlan said. “And like any teenager or young adult, they often leave home because their family’s homeless and they can’t stay with them. We forget that those two are really tied together.”
Harlan suggests eliminating all homelessness will never happen and the goal should be to move young people into transitional housing more quickly, with the focus on employment and education.