5 Ways to Serve Traveling Street Youth

Teenage boy standing outside building with backpack.
Build trust. Transient youth are often cautious of unknown adults. Take a cue from street outreach workers and show traveling youth you’re trustworthy by being consistent and a familiar face in areas where they congregate.

Rather than stay in a location where they have family or community supports, some homeless youth choose to travel around the country, never settling too long in one city or town. Some move in search of jobs and ways to survive; some want to travel and shun the term "homeless."

Research has found that traveling youth, also known as transient youth, are more likely than non-travelers to participate in risky behaviors such as substance abuse and survival sex. They’re also often harder to reach because they’re more disconnected from family members and service providers and tend to rely on other traveling youth instead.

Despite these challenges, agencies can take creative steps to connect youth to short-term services or to plant the seeds of trust should they decide to stay in a given place. Click through the slideshow above for tips on serving this group of homeless young people.

More on Traveling Street Youth

"The Experience of Traveling Homeless Youth"

"A Youth Traveler Carves Her Own Path"

"Understanding Trauma and Transience Among Runaway and Homeless Youth"

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