Improving our National Estimate of Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness: the 2017 Point-In-Time Count

Join us on November 21 for a webinar on how communities can more effectively count youth as part of the 2017 Point-in-Time count. The webinar will include presenters from HUD, HHS, and ED, Chapin Hall’s Voices of Youth Count, and a community partner, who will highlight local efforts to get to a more accurate count of youth experiencing homelessness in their community.

HUD’s Point-in-Time count provides a one-night estimate of sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, including estimates of the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness, as well as homelessness among individuals, Veterans, families with children, and youth. However, many communities have struggled to accurately count youth experiencing homelessness within their PIT counts, which contributes to gaps in our ability to fully understand the scale and scope of interventions and resources needed to address the needs of young people experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness.

Through the USICH Interagency Working Group to End Youth Homelessness, federal partners are working closely to advance implementation of the Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness, which includes the key strategy of getting to a more coordinated national estimate of youth homelessness. The PIT count is a data source that is essential for helping to inform this effort.

Building on the federal Youth Count! Initiative, federal agencies have agreed to establish the 2017 PIT count as the baseline year for counting unaccompanied youth experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. This means that as we continue to measure national and local progress to end youth homelessness, 2017 will be used as the initial comparison year for PIT count data.

Community efforts to count youth experiencing homelessness should fit seamlessly into an overall PIT count plan and include methods to ensure these efforts are not being conducted in isolation from one another. USICH’s webinar on the 2017 PIT count will touch on lessons learned from the Voices of Youth Count and other community perspectives, and tie those lessons into strategies communities can adopt when they are counting youth as part of their overall 2017 PIT count.

We need communities to help us develop a nuanced and improved understanding of youth homelessness in the United States. It is critical that communities ensure the upcoming PIT count of youth is as accurate as possible to demonstrate progress on ending homelessness among youth moving forward. Findings from the 2017 PIT count will have implications at the federal, state, and local levels for policy, practice, funding, and research.

To further assist communities in improving the reliability of youth counts, HUD and its partners have released a series of resources and have plans to publish more in the coming months:

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