Youth Authors: “Youth Homelessness Awareness” Interview by Josiah and Jia

Youth Homelessness Awareness

“Some of us were adults from birth.”

by Josiah and Jia

Jesse is a good friend of mine so contacting him wasn’t an issue, it was time, but he was more than happy to answer any question I had. So I’m not going to waste any more time.

“Hello, I am Jay!

My name is Jesse, but I go by my artist name, Jay Zero. Most of my life has been spent in and out of chronic homelessness. As a musician I hope to, not only make a better life for myself and my close ones by breaking the cycle of contempt, but also inspire anyone and everyone stuck at rock bottom to create a better life for themselves no matter the circumstance.”

“It’s too late to start over. This is the only thing I know” – Eminem

Q: What is your take on homelessness?

A: “I’ve always found the situation personal, being in and out of homelessness since I was a kid.”

Q: How many people do you know have faced or are facing homelessness?

“I for one hate this question,” I told him.

A: “That’s a hard one to answer only because there are so many.” “I want to say roughly 10 currently homeless and just over 100 in my lifetime…”

as he was finishing what he was saying I could tell that question hit a little deep for him. That’s exactly the kind of impact I was hoping for.

Q: Why do you think people become homeless?

A: “I believe it has a lot to do with the situation, as in the events that happened before you became homeless, whether it be job loss or bad parenting.”

He said as he thought of more to say but he explained to me that the question had so many answers they came to him all at once.

Q: What do you think we can do to help homelessness?

A: “Volunteer when you can, donate when you can, every little bit helps.”

Q: Can you give me an estimate of how many people you think are homeless in your area?

A: “100 maybe more? York City is small but the homeless ratio is high.”

Q: Are you comfortable enough to tell me your personal experiences when it comes to homelessness, if you have any?

A: “I do but I’d like to save that for later.”

Q: Why do you think there are so many homeless youth?

A: “Bad parenting and most likely foster systems situations. Teens run away for many reasons.”

Q: How long have you lived or how long are you visiting york? Can you claim it as a home?

A: “I am from here and I’ve lived here on and off since I was a kid and absolutely.”

Q: Obviously you’re not a female but in knowing females who’ve been homeless, How easy do you think it is to get hygiene products?

A: “Well I can’t even begin to imagine being in the middle of an emergency with nothing to help you. As a man It’s hard to get hygiene products and if I’m not mistaken some female products can be a little pricey.

Q: Resources are limited depending on your gender. Which gender do you think goes through the most?

A: “I’m pretty sure depending on your gender you might have a biased opinion. But I”m going to have to say men only because we are expected to deal with our own issues with little to no help.”


Jesse and I talked a little bit after the interview and he said something that stood out to me. Obviously everyone wants success and everyone has their own opinion or vision I should say of goals and accomplishments. He said “ I personally won’t feel any type of success until I buy my first property unless I’m no longer renting”. I loved that because it gave me a reason to continue. Getting my first apartment was just the first step there’s so much more we can have, see, taste, feel and that’s the message I want my generation to know.

This article was written by youth from Valley Youth House in York County in conjunction with the York Coalition to End Homelessness.