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Homeless Youth

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To the editors:

I would like to take issue with something in your City File Section of a recent issue of the Reader [October 21]. You made light of what Gary Leofanti, President of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, had said about homeless youth as part of an interview with Voices for Illinois Children.

What you printed was out of context and does not in any way help the plight of homeless youth or those who are trying to help them.

The Illinois Collaboration on Youth is against labels of any sort for youth who have personal or family problems. Also, it goes without saying that we want every youth to have a roof over his or her head. However, we do not believe as do some others in the concept of "just a warm bed." We believe youth without families should have available vocational training and independent living programs among others to help them transition into becoming productive adults.

The Reader usually is not so flip about such serious issues. We would be glad to discuss this issue with you further.

Arvid Hammers

State Office Director

Illinois Collaboration on Youth

Harold Henderson replies:

The quotation at issue was reproduced faithfully, in full, and in its original context from the Fall 1988 issue of Voices newsletter, published by Voices for Illinois Children. (Those with sufficient curiosity to seek out the original can contact that excellent advocacy group at 53 W. Jackson, suite 515.) In it, Gary Leofanti appears to argue that there are no homeless young people (under 18) in Illinois because state law has somehow defined them out of existence. I agree with Arvid Hammers that this astonishing statement is not very helpful, and it is comforting to learn that it does not reflect ICOY's position.

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