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Homeless Youth



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The recent opening of an emergency shelter for homeless young women is significant step forward in the effort to address a growing problem along the Wasatch Front.

As we've learned from several recent stories on the Eyewitness News, more young people than ever are on the streets homeless and alone. One recent survey revealed a 175 percent increase during the last year in the number of identified homeless teens in Salt Lake City.

Some of the teens, we learned, have "aged out" of foster care; others are runaways or have been kicked out by their parents. Over half have experienced physical and sexual abuse prior to becoming homeless. That's one reason the youth avoid traditional shelters and instead, sleep in abandoned homes or businesses, and on park benches.

Thankfully, they've been able to get some help through the Homeless Youth Resource Center operated by the Volunteers of America. But that facility closes each evening at 7, leaving the teens on their own.

KSL applauds the decision earlier this week to make room for young homeless women at a residential detoxification facility in Murray. At least the young women will have a roof over their heads at night. Now, though, comes the broader challenge of more aggressively addressing this escalating societal problem.

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