• January 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 1

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Strategies for Counting Homeless Youth

To help fulfill the Obama administration's quest to end homelessness, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Youth Count! initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to develop promising strategies for counting the number and characteristics of unaccompanied homeless youth in the United States. This data can help providers and policymakers tailor services to reach specific subgroups of homeless youth, such as those who have aged out of foster care. Nine sites participated in data collection during the winter 2012/2013.

In July 2013, the Urban Institute released Youth Count! Process Study, which assesses the Youth Count! process and identifies promising strategies and lessons learned for improving counting methods. The report is based on interviews, observations during the count, and document reviews. Promising strategies for counting homeless youth include engaging youth service providers, involving youth in the planning and implementation, using social media to connect with youth, and measuring housing instability rather than just homelessness. The study also includes detailed descriptions of the sites' methodologies, a discussion of challenges, and recommendations.

To view the Youth Count! Process Study, visit:

http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412872-youth-count-process-study.pdf (968 KB)

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