In the spring, Youth REACH MD (Reach out, Engage, Assist, & Count to end Homelessness) conducted its second Youth Count at the sites of targeted programs, agencies and businesses all across the state known to serve young people experiencing homelessness, including Health Care for the Homeless. The purpose of the count, modeled after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Count!, is to obtain accurate, detailed information about unaccompanied youth and young adults ages 18 to 25 who are without a permanent place to call home, and who are not under the care of a parent or guardian.
The report, released this month, identified more than 2,300 youth in Maryland as unaccompanied and experiencing homelessness. At Health Care for the Homeless, we know that this number does not accurately reflect the vast number of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness in Maryland, but we participate in this and other counts, to ensure that the report is inclusive, client-focused and to help better understand how we can address the problem.
The report found disproportionate representation of African-American and LGBTQ youth, a significant number of youth without high school diplomas and a substantial amount of youth who are parenting. Based on these findings and more, the report makes three policy recommendations that the committee believes will begin to effectively address youth homelessness in Maryland:
- Invest in housing and support services for youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness
- Continue support of ongoing and improved monitoring of youth homelessness for data-informed decision-making
- Grow local and regional capacity to track and address youth homelessness locally
Click here for the full report.