UH, UH-Downtown among universities to aid homeless youth
Through an initiative by the Graduate College of Social Work, UH- Downtown and the University of Texas Nursing School will launch an effort to count the number of 13-24 year old living homeless in Houston. The initiative, Youth Count 2.0!, will take place from Oct. 27 through Nov. 21.
Youth Count 2.0! has been in action since the 2013-2014 school year and is funded by the Houston Community Foundation. The community project counts homeless people in Harris County from ages 13 to 24 who are living in what is defined as unstable housing such as a car, a motel, a friend’s house or the streets of Houston. With more accurate data, service providers are expected to develop programs to better serve the young and homeless.
Assistant professor and clinical social worker Sarah Narendorf, head of the Youth Count 2.0! team, said the service will count on over 85 student volunteers, 60 out of whom are from the GCSW. She also said that the counting will be accompanied by a survey that will help identify the needs and circumstances of the homeless youth.
“The Coalition for the Homeless leads a count of all homeless people in the Houston area each year, but youth homelessness can look different than homelessness in older adults and be more difficult to identify,” Narendorf said.
According to Narendorf, many people in the community are interested in better understanding youth homelessness. It’s how the partnership between UH, UH-D and the UT Nursing School was created.
“When the homeless youth network began talking about doing research on this population, conversations across multiple partners brought the current team together,” Narendorf said. “Each institution had researchers interested in youth homelessness from different perspectives.”
Narendorf said that the research team – Yonsook Ha from GCSW, Diane Santa Maria from UT School of Nursing and Bezette Flores from UH-D – put together a grant proposal, while the Greater Houston Community Foundation Fund to End Homelessness is supporting Youth Count 2.0! along with the, Oct. 25.
“We are so excited to get started and to learn more about this vulnerable group of young people so the community can build better services and supports from them,” Narendorf said.
More information can be found here.