Baltimore County has joined a statewide effort to contact and survey young people who are homeless or struggling with serious housing issues. The statewide effort, known as Youth Reach Maryland, has engaged 10 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 will continue through Sunday, April 2.
The Baltimore County Department of Planning and the non-profit 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 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…