Back to Foreword
TAKING ACTION FOR HOMELESS YOUTH IN THE STATE OF NEW YORKBy: The Door, Mondelēz International, Inc., and Baker McKenzie
Resilience. Despite sometimes having nowhere to sleep but the street, they are resilient. Despite having rights to services that no one will help realize, they are surprisingly resilient. Despite people averting their eyes upon seeing them on the corner, when they have as much potential and strength as any other youth, they remain resilient. Children and youth who live, work or are otherwise depending on the street, are astounding and resilient. They deserve the best resources - legal as well as non-legal. So a group of legal volunteers seeking to serve this deserving and able population created this Homeless Youth Handbook to outline their issues and options and help them realize their rights, as well as their great potential.
On any given night there are approximately 3,800 homeless youth in New York City alone. They face a multitude of physical, mental, emotional, economic and social challenges, as they work to meet immediate needs such as food and water, clean clothes, personal hygiene, housing and access to healthcare. In many cities, these issues are compounded by the severe lack of emergency shelter and affordable housing options. This daily struggle to survive prevents homeless youth from seeing beyond their immediate circumstances, interfering with their ability to establish healthy interpersonal relationships, succeed in school, and secure employment – all of which are necessary steps toward independence and self-sufficiency.
The Homeless Youth Handbook - New York is one concrete way we are working across sectors to provide youth in the State of New York with some of the most needed information on their legal rights in an effort to help them restore their safety and security to help them survive and thrive. The legal issues faced by youth who are experiencing homelessness are pervasive and diverse. To address this broad array of issues, this Handbook covers everything from education to employment, foster care to housing, and a myriad of topics in between. The Homeless Youth Handbook - New York provides legal rights and resources based on applicable New York State law, as well as other applicable federal rights and resources. This Handbook is designed to serve the youth themselves, as well as those working with youth tirelessly, whether professionally or informally.
The work product resulting in the Homeless Youth Handbook - New York resource is the culmination of a year's work for over 75 volunteers as researchers, drafters, editors, technology support, and many other functions. Our team contributed more than 1,000 pro bono hours to make an impact on the youth throughout the State of New York. This Handbook is a collaborative work product of The Door, Mondelēz International, Inc., and Baker McKenzie.
The Door offers comprehensives services for homeless youth that includes our Street Outreach Program and onsite Drop-In Center, which is the largest in New York City. Our Street Outreach Program sends outreach workers to the areas throughout the City where homeless youth congregate and serves over 3,000 youth with emergency supplies, referrals to shelter, and information about where to access additional resources, including The Door. The Door's on-site Drop-In Center reaches over 1,600 homeless youth each year and provides crisis assistance – including food, clothing, hygiene kits, referrals to shelter and mental health counseling – as well as case management to help them achieve stability while working toward their long-term goals and self-sufficiency.
Mondelēz International, Inc., is one of the world's largest snack companies and a world leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages through its brands, which include Oreo, belVita, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Trident. Mondelēz International believes that the path to having a positive impact in the world begins with collaborating with communities. This Homeless Youth Handbook - New York resource is an example of the importance and value of collaboration for a community cause.
Baker McKenzie is a global law firm with an equally robust pro bono practice serving underserved populations across the world. Baker McKenzie is a known advocate and thought-leader for children's rights both nationally and globally.
We owe our deepest gratitude to the incredibly strong network of homeless advocates throughout the State of New York, led by the New York Coalition for Homeless Youth. Our team would like to add a special thanks to Covenant House New York, which contributed their expertise to many of the chapters to in this Homeless Youth Handbook.
Julie L. Shapiro
The Door – A Center of Alternatives, Inc.
Gerhard W. Pleuhs
Executive Vice President – Corporate Affairs and General Counsel
Michael J. Wagner
Partner, Global Executive Committee Member, and Chair, North America