Tarrant County non-profit groups are calling attention to the problem of youth homelessness. Homeless youth are defined as youth who have no fixed regular or adequate nighttime shelter.
The agencies will present “Lost in America,” a documentary about youth without homes to raise awareness. Film Director Rotimi Rainwater, who was homeless as a youth himself, will hold a community Q&A after the film.
“Lost in America” will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Ridglea Theater, which is located at 6025 Camp Bowie Blvd. The film will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the Q&A.
“This is an important documentary for our community to see and an important conversation for us to have,” Carla Storey with the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition said in the release. “The very real story of youth homelessness stays in the shadows. It is time to shine a light on it and take steps to end it in Tarrant County.”
The organizations involved include the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work Center for Child Welfare, ACH Child and Family Services, CitySquare and Paving the Way.
According to a news release, Tarrant County schools had nearly 1,000 unaccompanied students in the classrooms during the 2015-16 school year. Between October 2016 and October 2017, ACH Child and Family Services provided shelter for 133 youth under age 18, and provided outreach services to 210 runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 14 and 20.
Youth homelessness has multiple causes:
— escaping from physical, mental or sexual abuse, including trafficking
—aging out of the foster care system
— being rejected by their parents due to their gender identity
— being recently released from jail
A point-in-time survey – conducted Jan. 26, 2017, by the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition – found just over 100 youth ages 18 to 24 sleeping on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing.
Tickets are available for $25 and $15 for students at www.lostinamericatc.eventbrite.com. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit a Tarrant County Homeless Coalition fund dedicated to helping homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 24 transition to a place they can call home.