Every night, hundreds of young people ages 18 to 25 in Baltimore City turn to a friend's couch, a stranger's house, a vacant building or the street for a place to sleep. Instead of going to school or doing the many other things their peers are doing, many of these young people spend their days thinking about where they will lay their heads.
In an effort to obtain accurate, detailed information about this particular group of individuals and their needs, Youth REACH MD (Reach out, Engage, Assist, & Count to end Homelessness) partners each year with service providers and community members to conduct an annual Youth Count. The 2017 Youth Count will take place between April 1 and April 14.
Modeled after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Count!, the Maryland project launched in 2016 on a 2013 recommendation from Maryland’s Task Force to Study Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. Youth Reach MD’s Youth Count is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, University of Maryland and the Mayor’s Office of Human Services.
Thanks to the data collected in 2016, Maryland secured more than $400,000 for new housing for unaccompanied youth last year, and Maryland’s participating Youth Count partner organizations received an additional $300,000+. The count’s sponsors hope the 2017 count will provide an even greater insight into the needs of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness.
This year’s count will take place at the sites of targeted programs, agencies and businesses known to serve or accommodate young people experiencing homelessness, including drop-in centers, schools, recreation and teen centers, local departments of social services, transitional housing programs, convenience stores, colleges and universities and libraries. Health Care for the Homeless will serve as one of these sites.
Health Care for the Homeless staff will administer the survey on the mobile clinic during regular outreach hours, as well as on site at 421 Fallsway. We need your help identifying potential participants. Please refer anyone meeting the following criteria to Sarah Bielecki or Anthony Jones:
- unaccompanied youth or young adult
- 24 years or younger and not living with a parent or guardian
- without a fixed, stable, permanent place to call home
The survey is voluntary and anonymous. Thank you for helping us connect as many of our young people as possible to the survey—so they get counted!