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Jun 4, 2013 1:57 PM by Ryan Haarer

Homeless Tucson teens ask for help in record numbers

TUCSON - Alyssa snow family life was unstable, she and her grandmother didn't see eye to eye and she got kicked out of the house.

"I didn't expect it to be so hard to pay bills. I always thought it would be easy, oh I can save money, but I didn't realize that, oh i need to buy shampoo, I need to get soap, and food too," said Snow.

The Tucson based non-profit saw a 60 percent enrollment increase over last year. That's the most ever for Youth On Their Own which assists students who regularly attend class and get good grades

"They have to be accountable. To get the things they get from us they have to do something in order to get it and they have people that care about them," said Teresa Liverzani-Baker, executive director of the organization.

Arizona has the highest dropout rate in the nation. TUSD's 2012 graduation rate was just 77 percent. Youth On Their Own had 93 percent of their 350 seniors receive a diploma this year. Without Youth On Their Own it's unlikely these teens would contribute much to society.

"They can't get a job. They have no high school diploma, they become uneducated, unemployable adults and 70 percent wind up in jail in our community. And who pays for that? We do!"

Youth On Their Own is looking for funding especially with the growing number of kids they help. Also, food and hygiene products are in high demand as well.

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