TOWSON — Baltimore County is seeking to contact and survey young people under age 25 who are struggling with homelessness or unstable housing. For the next two weeks, County Department of Planning staff and their non-profit partners will be taking extra steps to locate youth with unstable housing situations in order to estimate the number of people who make up this vulnerable population and gain a deeper knowledge of the challenges they face.
The County is participating in a statewide effort, known as Youth Reach Maryland, to contact and survey young people who are homeless or struggling with serious housing issues. This effort has engaged regional partners and seeks to strengthen knowledge of and services to youth under age 25 who are not living with a parent or guardian and face an unstable housing situation that may be viewed as homelessness.
The County’s effort to contact this constituency begins Monday, March 12, and continues through Sunday, March 25. The County Department of Planning and the non-profits Prologue, Inc. and Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless (BCCH) are leading the county effort, working closely with service providers and institutions, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The County and its partners have assembled a network of people, including youth ambassadors, who will visit key locations, reach out and, hopefully, survey the select youth population over the two-week period.
Advocates for the homeless believe that independent youth and young adults under age 25 who are struggling with housing are often a hidden population that goes uncounted. Youth Reach Maryland seeks to improve the count and deepen knowledge of a unique, challenging constituency.
Maryland’s effort to improve outreach to homeless youth began in 2013, when the legislature made it a priority to improve the frequency and accuracy of counting the state’s unaccompanied homeless youth. It established the Task Force to Study Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, which recommended a Youth and Young Adult Count of Unaccompanied Homeless. This later became the initiative known as Youth REACH (Reach out, Engage, Assist, & Count to end Homelessness) MD. The state effort is now led by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and coordinated by the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Those interested in learning more about Baltimore County’s Youth Reach effort are encouraged to contact Terri Kingeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the following web links:
Youth Reach Maryland: http://www.youthreachmd.com/