The Young Adult Advocacy Board focuses on preventing homelessness in young adults aged 18-24. The board is part of the Chattanooga/ Southeast Tennessee Continuum of Care (CoC), which is composed of many local agencies and individuals committed to the goal of ending homelessness. The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition serves as the lead coordinating agency over CoC.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness says more than 7,000 people experienced homelessness on any given day in Tennessee last year, with 353 of those unaccompanied young adults between the ages of 18-24. Executive Director of CRHC
Wendy Winters says that it’s hard to know the true number of young adults experiencing homelessness in our region because their experience can be different from most adults. She suspects that the numbers are much higher than what is currently known. “Young adults are oftentimes not on the streets; they are couch-surfing or living in their car. We don’t want anyone to be in the situation where they have to think about where they will stay night-to-night. They need safe, stable housing in order to realize all their dreams.”
The Young Adult Advocacy Board comprises six members who have experienced homelessness at a young age. Board member Brittney Stowers says that the life experience of the board members has helped them relate to teens or young adults in similar situations. “I once worked with a young adult who had been homeless since she was 18 years old. It started with her spending the night with her friends, but it progressively got worse. She then started living in her car and eventually found herself in a homeless camp,” said Ms. Stowers. She says that if youth homelessness is not addressed early, it becomes a chronic issue. Her message for youth experiencing homelessness in our region is, “Your tears are not forgotten. Your voice is heard.”
The Young Adult Advocacy Board was created in 2020 and conducts outreach every week to connect various teens and young adults to support resources in Chattanooga. The six-member team meets weekly and conducts outreach at Chattanooga State Community College. The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition serves as the coordinating agency of Southeast Tennessee’s homeless response system. Call 423-710-1501 or visit homelesscoalition.org to learn how you can help the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition’s efforts to eliminate homelessness.