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Count Me! Santa Clara County's Homeless Youth

News & Reports

Tips for Caring Adults When a Youth Shows Up on Your Couch:

Just about any parent of a youth knows there‘s a problem with homeless youth when their own kids bring friends home to stay for the night on a couch after they‘ve been “kicked out“ of their homes. For some of these youth, “couch surfing“ becomes a way of life for months at a time. What we have learned through years of providing services for this population of youth and young adults, and by actually conversing with them, is that they want adults to talk to them about their situation, about what’s going on in their lives, about being homeless, and that they matter. Besides needing caring adults in their lives, they need adults who will engage in conversations with them, to assist with problem-solving and tackling the obstacles and challenges they face on a daily basis. The next time your son or daughter brings another youth home to sleep on your couch, reach out to him or her and offer your support. Be the caring adult that young person so desperately wants and needs. What to say to a youth couch-surfing in your home:
• Be available to talk with the youth, initiate the conversation
• Start off with asking how they are doing
• Let the youth know you are listening and you care
• Through dialogue with the youth, determine what the circumstances are, what got them to your couch
• Problem solve with the young person about their current situation, what are his/her options, what are their plans
• Research with the young person what services are available in your community to assist them in becoming housed, support them in following-up with contacting the resources
• If you are in Santa Clara County and looking for resources, contact Bill Wilson Center at 408-850-6125 for housing information for youth and young adults