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Bleak Statistics, Hopeful Discussion At Philadelphia Forum On Homeless Youth

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Nearly 600 people, between the ages of 13 and 25, are homeless and sleep on the street in Philadelphia. They were the subject of a forum in City Hall on Tuesday, searching for solutions.

The statistics are bleak -- 28 percent of homeless youth have been in the foster care or juvenile justice system, a third of the females are pregnant, and LGBT youth are over-represented. The emphasis on these statistics were on fixing them, not being defeated by them.

"I want to call upon all of you to take some action to address some of these specific problems and challenges that we have brought forth here today," said moderator Bob Listenbee.

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Listenbee, a former Justice Department official now at Drexel, says some of the best ideas came from youth participants: a central drop-in center, a transition aid for youth leaving institutions.

City officials, like Councilwoman Helen Gym, offered support.

"We're going to solve it by all of us coming together.

Mayor Jim Kenney closed things out on an upbeat note.

"I'm just besides myself sometimes and I get frustrated and depressed, but then I come into a room like this and see all of you and I just feel hope," he said.

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