Lynch is a freelance multi-media journalist and videographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was recently the editorial fellow and assistant travel editor at Outside for three years. She has also produced several multi-media journalism and education projects with NGOs, government officials and grassroots community groups in Southeast Asia. Her work has been published by Las Cruces Sun-News, Santa Fe New Mexican, Alamogordo Daily News, Carlsbad Current-Argus, El Paso Inc., Outside Business Journal, Outside, Backpacker Magazine, Atlas Obscura, 5280 Magazine, Verge Magazine, Karen News (Thailand) and SevenSeas Media. Lynch is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology with minors in biology and anthropology. @kaelyn_lynch — LinkedIn — Muck Rack
Homeless youth in New Mexico, especially those under 18, face unique barriers to housing and services. “Even if there are kids just running away, there’s a reason they’re running away,” said Maya Fern, 22, a youth outreach coordinator for the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. Fern lived on the streets from 14 to 18 after fleeing abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend.
Substance abuse is one of the largest co-occurring factors in youth homelessness. Yet, New Mexico lacks treatment facilities to help housing insecure youth struggling with addiction. Serenity Mesa in Albuquerque, one of the only programs in the state that serves unhoused young people, takes an unconventional approach to help their clients cope not only with addiction, but the underlying causes of it.
LGBTQ+ youth experience homelessness at significantly higher rates than their peers. In Albuquerque, New Mexico's only shelter specifically for queer young people provides a safe space for this vulnerable and exploited population to thrive.
New Mexico consistently ranks toward the bottom among states for child welfare. In an under-resourced state with an overburdened system, a tight-knit group of nonprofit service providers have had to get creative to fill the gaps.