Effort seeks to gather demographics, housing status, and story of youth without stable housing
SOMERVILLE – Nationally and locally there is a lack of comprehensive information about homeless youth. But an effort is underway to gain a clearer understanding of the demographics, housing status, and story of youth without a stable place to stay on any given night in area communities including Somerville.
For the third year in a row, the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness are partnering with the 16 Continuums of Care (CoC) in Massachusetts, including the Somerville-Arlington CoC, to conduct a count and survey of unaccompanied homeless youth.
The Commission defines an unaccompanied homeless youth as a person 24 years of age or younger who is not in the physical custody or care of a parent or legal guardian, and who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. In 2014, 24 youth in Somerville met the Commission’s definition of homeless, 18 youth met HUD’s definition of homeless, and 9 youth were potentially experiencing risk.
The Somerville-Arlington CoC, which is led by the City of Somerville, is one of the 16 CoCs partnering in the statewide youth count, and has also been involved with efforts for the past two years as well. The CoC has partnered with Wayside, JRI, Baycove and Teen Empowerment, and from May 2 to May 15, 2016, emergency shelters, street outreach teams and other service providers in Somerville and Arlington will help count unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults.
Somerville and Arlington providers will survey young people known to be unstably housed in areas where youth congregate, as well as at drop-in centers, community meal sites, and other programs. Agencies throughout both municipalities will have hard copies of the surveys available in both Spanish and English, and there is also an online survey in English which can be accessed from May 2 to May 15 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/massyouth.
For more information about the count, please contact Kelly Donato at 617-625-6600 x2560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.