Do you know the number of homeless youth in your county or city? Communities across the nation have been conducting targeted youth counts, which the Alliance has gathered and placed on its new Youth Count media map and webpage to answer that question. The map will show you which communities have conducted counts, their results and a brief synopsis of the methodology used. Also, you’ll find a link to the full report to read in its entirety. We hope that this map will encourage your community to conduct a targeted youth count that can be used to inform policy and the scaling of interventions.
We also want to provide resources to communities to help them to either improve their counts or to conduct initial counts of homeless youth. Therefore, you will find resources on our new webpage such as webinars, briefs and a toolkit about counting youth.
There’s a lot more that needs to be done to be able to solve the issue of youth homelessness. What can you do? What can you encourage others to do?
What you can do:
- Form a committee to find out how youth can be targeted during your community’s next Point-In-Time count.
- Get involved in your community’s bi-annual Point-In-Time Counts as a youth advocate and/or provider.
- If you are already counting youth, re-visit your methodology and practices to make room for improvements.
What the Administration can do:
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and HUD should work together to make the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) the sole database for all homeless providers.
- HUD should align HMIS’s reporting on age with HUD’s definition of youth, which is between the ages of 18 and 24.
- HUD ought to have HMIS collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity regardless of age.
- Additionally, HUD should include in HMIS any additional information that HHS identifies is necessary to be in alignment with its runaway and homeless youth outcomes such as grade completion at entrance, length of stay in foster care and juvenile justice, and physical and mental health status.
- HHS should produce the national prevalence and incidence study of homeless youth.
What Congress can do:
- Congress should fund the prevalence and incidence study that was mandated in the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008, which reauthorized the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA).
If you would like to submit a report of your community’s targeted youth count to be added to the map, please feel free to contact me, André C. Wade at email@example.com.