This month, the organization released another terrific report highlighting how homelessness interacts with the criminal justice system. Adding Insult to Injury: The Criminalization of Homelessness and Its Effects on Youth looks at how unaccompanied homeless youth face additional burdens due to laws that criminalize their status. For example, homeless youth are often penalized for sleeping in public places. Entering the criminal justice system at a young age can serve as a severe barrier as these youth look to lift themselves out of homelessness. A criminal record can impact their ability to find housing, secure employment, pursue education, and access some safety net resources.
The report, which is the result of interviews with and testimonials from homeless youth across the state, points out that homeless youth lack the resources needed to avoid further violating some “quality of life” laws.