TENNESSEE, USA — It's heartbreaking to think about.
Data collected by Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless shows a 20 percent increase in youth homelessness in the last year.
According to its report, there are currently 41 young adults or teens (24 years of age and under) in shelters or living on the streets across 12 rural counties in East TN.
"They're sleeping in tents. They're living in cars. They're not doubled up with friends or family. They are sleeping in dangerous places," said Chief Development Officer Mikhael Armao of Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless.
Armao said when a young person becomes homeless, the goal is to rehouse them within 30 days. She also said lack of family support and access to resources in rural communities contribute to the rise in youth homelessness.
In order to help with more support, the TVCH is creating a youth homeless committee to streamline more resources.
"We can prevent these young youth individuals from turning into chronically homeless individuals. We have to catch them before that pivotal point," Armao said.