SOAR Programs and Social SecurityReading Time: 2 Minutes
Last Updated: January 18, 2024
National Network for Youth (NN4Y) is dedicated to transforming systems so that no young person in America experiences homelessness.
In the United States, roughly 4.2 million young people— one in 10 young adults ages 18 to 25 and one in 30 youth ages 13 to 17— experience homelessness each year. Of those, about 700,000 are unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness without any family, parent, or guardian. Nationwide surveys indicate that homelessness affects youth living in rural, suburban, and urban communities at similar rates.
Homelessness is often hidden among young adults, and it is difficult to accurately assess the extent of the problem. There are different definitions of homelessness, and many obstacles to contacting unhoused people, particularly unhoused youth. Further, many unhoused young people do not go to shelters, and instead transition between temporary sleeping arrangements with friends or acquaintances.
People experiencing homelessness face challenges that include:
- Lack of necessities like food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.
- Discontinuation of education due to mobility.
- Trauma caused by poverty and instability.
Many young adults experiencing homelessness also have disabilities that create additional challenges for their transition to adulthood. Children experiencing homelessness are up to three times more likely to show emotional and behavioral problems than other children. They’re also four times more likely to experience delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities.
Youth homelessness is a complex issue that intersects with multiple public and private entities. The SOAR (SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access, and Recovery) program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help. SOAR increases access to Social Security disability benefits for eligible adults and children who:
- Are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
- Have a severe mental illness, medical impairment, or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
The SOAR program provides a cross-agency approach to solving youth and young adult homelessness. SOAR provides unhoused young adults with faster access to the supportive services needed to maintain housing and stability. To learn more about SOAR, visit our website. For more information about Social Security disability benefits, check out their publication, Disability Benefits. You can also visit Social Security’s webpage, Information for People Helping Others, for ways in which you can assist people experiencing homelessness in your community.
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Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.
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