Yesterday, we talked about how help is long overdue for homeless youth. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: there is not enough information about this very vulnerable, often overlooked population.
In fact, there isn’t even a baseline count; that is, we don’t even really know how many homeless youth there are in the country.
This is why the Alliance is urging communities to include youth in their annual point-in-time counts. All communities are required to regularly conduct counts of their local homeless populations (required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) and while “youth” is a line item, hardly any communities report youth numbers.
But we need to start counting.
Our own district is starting this year. The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is conducting a homeless youth survey in mid-March in concert with the George Washington University and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The effort is meant to gauge how many youth are experiencing homelessness in the District, how youth in the District become homeless, and what the community can provide with services and programs to assist youth out of homelessness and into stable housing conditions.
DC is taking an essential step forward. In order to solve a problem, we must first fully understand it – and conducting this kind of count can increase our knowledge on this important social problem.
How does the youth homelessness situation look like in your community? What steps are being taken to end youth homelessness? Are you available to help DC AYA and their partners conduct a youth count in mid-March? Let us know!