Homeless Youth Labor Continuum: Working in Formal and Informal Economies from Highland Guatemala to San Francisco, California

Homeless Youth Labor Continuum: Working in Formal and Informal Economies from Highland Guatemala to San Francisco, California

This chapter addresses the work lives of homeless youth drawing upon research that begun in the 1990s and continued into the present (2016) with between 700 and 750 homeless and formerly homeless youth, primarily from the USA, Mexico, and Central America. The youngest was aged 12 and the oldest was 22, but the majority of youth were between the ages of 16 and 19. The chapter argues how homeless youth are a highly mobile population – and between dislocation and relocation are often in a constant state of movement. In search of needed resources, income, and a safe place to settle, many homeless young people are migratory and regularly cross county, state, and sometimes national borders. The chapter presents a model of labor continuum in order to understand the involvement of homeless youth in multiple informal and informal economies. It is concluded that in evaluating the economic challenges and activities of youth on their own, it is useful to adopt a global approach to understanding the legal and political factors that shape the lives and opportunities of homeless youth, as they cross borders and sometimes work transnationally.

JOURNAL: Geographies of Children and Young People
VOLUME: 10
PAGES: 1-32
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016