We’re Working on a New State-By-State Strategy to End Youth Homelessness

Sep 2017


True Advocacy Fellow Quintay Knight is helping to evaluate all 50 states on their work to end youth homelessness.

Ever since I could remember, I been taking care of myself. At the age of nine, I remember waiting after school for my mother to pick me up like always. She never came, so I walked home only to find there was no one home. I sat outside for five hours… still no mom in sight. The neighbor was kind enough to let me stay at his place. The next day, I was thankful that a friend of the family took me in. Still no mom in sight. About two weeks passed until mom finally came back home and I was happy to go and live under her presence again – but the next day I was on my way to a different state with a different family.

Not only did this affect me mentally, but it also played apart in my education due to moving from couch to couch, home to home. I’ve attend 12 different schools in my lifetime, and have not been able to graduate due to unstable housing. Can you imagine being that young and having to work, feed yourself, and guide yourself with no true leadership to follow behind?

Recently, I was looking for a roof over my head. That was a nerve-wracking feeling. My roommate at the time, who I put a lot of trust in, threw me under the bus. She took my money, didn’t pay our landlord, got another place with half of my money, and so on. In a split second, I was without lights and on the verge of losing my job at the time. It’s sadly amazing how fast you could experience homelessness. Any one of us could be homeless at any moment. Life is not promising. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. Yet most states lack a single agency responsible for creating, maintaining, and evaluating a coordinated spectrum of services for runaway and homeless youth.

Young people are carrying the torch.

As a youth, I realize and understand ‘I am the future.’ Therefore, if I want to see change, I have to step up and grab the torch. That’s why I’m happy to raise awareness and advocate for preventing and ending youth homelessness. As the 2017 True Advocacy Fellow, I’m working with the True Colors Fund to create an assessment of all 50 states’ current capacity to successfully end youth homelessness. Each state will be evaluated and receive a report based on how effectively they’re addressing the issue at the state level, as well as recommendations for how to improve. It’s going to be a big game-changer. Not only will these reports help folks working in government develop better strategies, they’ll also will help educate citizens and mobilize them to advocate for preventing and ending homelessness among our youth.

Learn more at the 40 to None Summit!

This research that I have an amazing opportunity to be a part of really touches home for me because of my past experience and upcoming obstacles. I’m excited to share the work I’ve done on this project at the upcoming 40 to None Summit (October 3-4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA). See you there?

Register for the 40 to None Summit