Count Me! Hidden in Plain Sight: Documenting Homeless Youth Populations
This report describes the process used by Bill Wilson Center to count the population of homeless youth and young adults, ages 13 to 25, in Santa Clara County, California. The count was undertaken to determine the extent of youth homelessness in the area and plan services accordingly. Two distinct counts took place--the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time count was conducted in January 2017 and a high school and community college survey was administered to a sampling of schools during winter 2016 through spring 2017. The report also includes information on high risk populations for homelessness and results of a study completed by the University of Southern California (USC) on the characteristrics of 208 homeless street young adults to help compile a unique profile of this population. Findings of the homeless student survey are that 17 percent of surveyed high school students indicated they were unhoused or knew another youth who was homeless. Forty-four percent of community college students reported experiencing homelessness or knowing someone who was homeless sometime in the past six months. Of the 208 homeless street youth who participated in the USC survey, 40 percent qualified as chronically homeless, 45 percent were kicked out of the family home, 43 percent had a caregiver in prison, and 25 percent were parents themselves. The report also provides lessons learned while planning and undertaking the study and recommendations for conducting a count that provides a more complete picture of the issue than the HUD point-in-time count.