Orange County homeless population jumps to nearly 7,000

The Need

Every day, Build Futures engages in the tireless work of ending youth homelessness in Orange County. But we can’t do it alone. Solving an issue as complex and widespread as transitional-aged youth homelessness takes a village– our village.

We know that you may have a gut reaction when you see a homeless youth on the street. You may imagine they are too lazy to get a job or feel like they are just out looking for trouble. There’s a good possibility you don’t realize the 18- to 24-year-old is actually homeless. This population is considered the “invisible homeless” because they often manage to dodge police, social services, and hide their homelessness by crashing at a friend’s house or sleeping in a car.

You won’t find our clients pushing a shopping cart of their posessions down the street, though they will face chronic homelessness without significant intervention and support. These kids aren’t veterans, though 63% have experienced enough trauma and violence to develop PTSD. Our clients look like regular teens and young adults, only they face challenges and obstacles most of us could never imagine.

The truth is, most of us do not understand the significant challenges and basic realities of transitional-aged youth homelessness. Our youth come to us with a history of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. They suffer from debilitating anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorders and other mental health illnesses. Most of our clients have little to no work experience. They may not have high school diplomas, and some  are battling drug or alchohol addiction. These young people are alone. They are hurting, lost, and facing insurmountable obstacles.

How can you help?

Educate Yourself

Learning more about our unique homeless population and making a shift in what you believe about these young people is a major step. Once you realize that transitional-aged youth homelessness is not a product of laziness or greed, you’re able to see the need for outside support and intervention.

Partner with Build Futures

We have a vision for a future in which there are no transitional-aged homeless youth in Orange County. Help us make that vision a reality!

It costs $35/day to house and provide basic needs for a homeless young person. Your donation gives these hurting young people a safe roof over their heads and simple provisions.

These transitional-aged homeless youth also need our time. You can volunteer to help with any number of tasks, from administrative work to grant writing or mentoring our young people. Your time is incredibly valuable and makes such a difference in these vulnerable lives.

Educate Others

Once you understand the harsh realities facing the transitional-aged homeless youth in Orange County, you can help by teaching others. We need your help to combat the stigma attached to these young people.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the lates information, and feel free to forward the newsletter to your friends and family. Change is possible, but it takes all of us working together to shift the trajectory for these homeless youth and help them find a stable, safe place in society.

Speak up! If you hear someone speaking disparagingly about our homeless youth, kindly share what you’ve learned about the realities facing these young people. Use your voice to stand up for the disadvantaged who may not be able to speak for themselves.


  • 63% of our clients have suffered physical abuse-some to the point they now experience PTSD.

  • Many of our youth come to us without high school diplomas. These youth have a 346% increased chance of homelessness than their peers who graduated from high school.
  • African American youth face an 83% higher chance of being homeless.
  • LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be homeless than their non-LGBTQ peers and suffer twice the death rate of all homeless youth.

  • Youth in households making less than $24,000 a year have a 162% higher risk of homelessness.
  • Hispanic, nonwhite youth have a 33% higher risk of homelessness.

Build Future’s success rate is 73%

Build Future’s success rate is 73%. That’s astonishingly high given the high-risk population we work with.  We assisted 160 kids last year by helping them to get off the streets, providing training so they can enter the workforce, and giving them the skills required to become self-sufficient.

Before anything else, we make sure our young people have space in a safe house with their own bed and blankets.  We give them food so they don’t have to panhandle and can eat healthy meals. We give them bus passes to reach our office and meet with their case managers and to attend job interviews as they begin working toward self-sufficiency.

Build Futures is committed to ending youth homelessness.  We are committed to combating the causes that create youth homelessness. And we are committed to treating our youth with respect and dignity, the way all of us want to be treated. You can be part of the solution!