It will take place in April.
Frederick, Md. (KM) – The Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership will be working with the Frederick County School System and other community organizations to conduct a survey of homeless youth. Maureen Walker, the Program Administrator for SHIP THRIVE, says the purpose is to identify young people experiencing homelessness, and to learn their unique needs and characteristics.
She says those who will be counted are unaccompanied youth. “They’re not with a legal guardian. They’re not with their parents. They might be with another family member who are not their legal guardian. They might be staying with friends. They might be on their own,,”: Walker says.
She says the School System conducted survey and found as of February, 2022, there were just over 125 unaccompanied homeless youth attending local public schools. “We know that this is an under representation as well,” she says., “A lot of times, youth and young people who are experiencing homeless are referred to as the invisible population.”
The survey will be conducted between April 4th and April 17th. But unlike the ten-year count conducted by the US Census Bureau which tries to include the homeless population, Walker says the local enumerators will not be visiting homeless camps. “This is more working with the School System to try to get an accurate count of students. Working with SHIP and all the programs that we have here at SHIP, to make sure that all of our young people are documented; and then working with other community members as well,” she says.
This local count is part of a statewide Youth REACH MD effort, a collaboration between the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and the General Assembly.
Volunteers are needed to help with the local count. Contact Maureen Walker at 240-626-0602, or by e-mail to [email protected].
By Kevin McManus