Fairbanks Agencies raise awareness for Homeless Youth

You might not notice them when you see them, but each day in the Interior hundreds of homeless young people walk the streets, simply to stay warm.

This week different agencies across the Fairbanks North Star Borough are teaming up to bring light to the situation.

The numbers are simply staggering. Children, ages 12-21, in the Fairbanks North Star Borough who are homeless is in the hundreds and growing. On Wednesday different agencies across the Borough will be gathering together for a Candlelight Vigil to raise awareness of this problem.

Colette Gilmour with Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption says, "The candles and signs we will be walking with is a good visual representation of the problem and issues and how the youth feel being homeless."

Those who work closely with the youth every day say they do feel a certain way about their situations.

Sarah Smith with the Fairbanks Youth Advocates commented on this saying, “They're just like other teenagers, that you don't need to look at them as bad kids. I hate the term 'at risk.' These are the same as your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. They are a lot of fun and they are regular kids who are going through a really hard situation, and they need our help."

The number of Young people that the agencies help each year is in the triple digits, they provide anything from a warm place to stay to a hot meal.

The SOAP program alone sees about 266 different individuals a month. And since the Fairbanks Youth advocates opened last year, they have seen 150.

But, the main thing that the volunteers want to spread to the community is knowledge; Knowledge of the problem and knowledge of these youth and their situation.

Smith said, “We just want more people in Fairbanks to know about the situation. I think that that's a problem that most people only have a vague concept of; youth homelessness. And so, letting them realize that this is going on in Fairbanks and there are hundreds of youth here in town that don't have a place to go."