The Effects of Homelessness on the Overall Self-Esteem of Homeless Youth

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Homelessness is often characterized as adults living on the streets taking shelter beneath the interwoven overpasses of the city or standing alongside busy intersections begging for money. Yet, children, those under 18 years of age, are generally not associated with the homeless status as they are invisible, not seen by the general public with their homeless counterparts taking up residence in make-shift housing. Nonetheless, there is a large percent of youth who meet the guidelines for being deemed homeless. The website,, says the U.S Department of Education defines a homeless youth as one whom: Lacks a fixed, regular, and nighttime residence or an individual who has a primary residence that is a) a supervised or…show more content…
All of the undesirable traits of being a homeless youth create a platform for developing negative self-esteem. From a developmental perspective, the younger one is when they are exposed to a homelessness the greater the disadvantages they encounter. Being homeless presents environmental hazards to the physical and cognitive well-being of infants and toddlers, a time of immense growth. Often times, these children go without immunizations to guard against preventable and contagious illnesses. Likewise, substandard shelter exposes developing brains to toxins like lead based paint that has been proven to cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. Furthermore, without access to adequate medical care, nutrition, and age appropriate socialization development delays may arise which can potentially lead to negative emotional and behavioral issues in adolescents and adulthood. When approaching school years, homeless children generally are lacking in social skills. Deficits in social and cognitive skills appear in marginal academic ability of homeless children and youth. Ellen Hart-Shegos (1999) prepared a report for The Family Housing Funds indicating “most homeless children (75 percent) under age five have at least one major developmental delay or deviation, primarily in the areas of impulsivity or speech” (pg.4). Prolonged intervention increases the
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