Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Deborah Loyd, DMin

Second Advisor

Valerie Crumpton, DMin


Homelessness is ubiquitous in communities across America. There are 1.5 million homeless school children annually. Over 125,000 are unaccompanied homeless youth detached from family. Many factors contribute to their homelessness, such as poverty, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, family conflict, addictions, mental illness, and sexual orientation. As difficult as it is in an abusive home, life does not usually improve when they depart. Homeless teens experience high rates of violence, sexual assault and exploitation, substance abuse, pregnancy, disease, leaving school, incarceration, unemployment, suicide, and dependency as adults.

This study explored the problem of unaccompanied teen homelessness in Eastern Spokane County, Washington. Specifically, what resources and relationships the Spokane Valley community could offer to homeless teens to improve stability and their adult success rates. As a result, a solutions model is recommended to the leaders of the Spokane Valley community that outlines proven programs that operate within a healthy interpersonal environment. It is my hope that this model will result in higher high school graduation rates for unaccompanied homeless teens, fulfilling vocations, and an exit from poverty.

The first four chapters outline factors involved in unaccompanied teen homelessness by explaining the current problem, exploring the history of adolescent orphans, compiling the biblical and theological influence on solutions, and summarizing field research conducted in Spokane County. Chapter 5 explores current solutions that U.S. communities are applying to the problem. The final chapter presents recommendations for community leaders in Spokane Valley. The model offered recommends the establishment of a drop-in emergency shelter with wraparound services, a variety of transitional housing (including host family homes), a street outreach program, and a Communities in Schools coordinator providing integrated student support at all high schools and middle schools in the Spokane Valley. The key to this model is the establishment of meaningful healthy adult relationships with the teens.

Included in

Christianity Commons