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Tampa homeless teens talk about struggles to raise awareness | News

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Tampa homeless teens talk about struggles to raise awareness
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Tampa, Florida -- Homeless, but not hopeless. The first Homeless Youth Forum was held at the Straz Center. It puts the truth about teen homelessness in the spotlight.

The forum is all about raising awareness about the struggles homeless teens face. The goal is to get the community involved and to develop housing and services and give every child a chance to succeed.

Six teens told their stories Wednesday at the Homeless Youth Forum.

Last year in Hillsborough County Schools, there were 3,500 kids who are homeless. 180 of those are teens.

At the forum, we heard first hand what it's like to be in that situation...sleeping on porches, being abused and turning to crime to survive.

But we also heard hope. Each of these teens talked about helping others and their desire to help those in similar situations.

Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 1351, the Homeless Youth Bill which makes it easier for an unaccompanied homeless teen to get their birth certificate which will help them with education and work. It takes effect July 1.

We heard lots of stories about how many of these teens need transportation to get to school or get to their jobs. Well, one of the teens received a car from the Wheels of Success organization. He will make small payments on the car, which the program says teaches responsibility and will help him on the road to success.

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