Youth Homelessness Included in Point-in-Time (PIT) count

This month, cities and regions across the country are conducting an annual…

 

Youth Homelessness Included in Point-in-Time (PIT) count

This month, cities and regions across the country are conducting an annual homeless survey, known as the Point-in-Time (PIT) count. A national homeless census, of sorts, organized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that brings together volunteers and service providers for a 24-hour capture of homelessness data. Last year, the compiled PIT counts found that 610,042 people were homeless in the United States on a given night in January, a third of whom had no shelter at all.

This year, youth homelessness is included “point-in-time” counts. Many young people living on the street, like teens everywhere, do their best to fit in with others. They may not consider themselves homeless—crashing at a friend’s house, couch surfing, or even sleeping in a car—might offer a young person the illusion of stability. They may be ashamed of stigma around the issue and intentionally conceal their circumstance. The result, youth are often left out of official counts.

Since officials use the data to allocate funding, provide resources, and gage progress that result can have devastating consequences.  It can mean too few beds for runaway youth, too few resources to keep a homeless youth in school, too few support services.

Thanks to Federal legislation, the Youth Count! Initiative is looking to change that by including “unaccompanied minors” this year.