A Senate hearing and a White House briefing recently took place in Washington DC focusing on the Administration’s goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. The importance of better counting methodology regarding Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) was a recurring theme from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jennifer Ho of HUD, and USICH Executive Director Matthew Doherty. There is consistent recognition that current counts underestimate the actual scope of youth homelessness. “I have become convinced that these numbers do not accurately reflect the population of homeless youth in California today.”, stated Senator Feinstein. “We know that our count of youth is low and we expect it to go up.”, added Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor to Secretary Castro of HUD.
“The increase in the number in the recent Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) youth count reflects a better counting methodology, rather than an increase in the problem.” said Step Up’s Emily James, Manager, TAY Project 40. “For example, the drop-in centers for youth experiencing homelessness have not noticed a significant increase in their numbers. These youth simply have been previously undercounted.” Since its inception in 2013, 24 Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) have moved from being unsheltered to supportive housing through TAY Project 40, outreach and engagement efforts, and 11 more TAY have been linked with a voucher or some type of housing resource. TAY Project 40 participates in gathering data on youth experiencing homelessness and the communities youth-specific counts. A stronger, data-driven picture of youth homelessness in the greater Los Angeles is emerging.
To read HUD’s full submitted testimony on youth homelessness, click here.