Bal­ti­more County is work­ing to con­tact youth with un­sta­ble hous­ing

The Avenue News - - NEWS -

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.

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