Get Counted: In Conversation with Youth Count DC
Article written by Toni Jackson, Teen Aide at Georgetown and Teen Council member since 2019.
YouthCount DC is an organization dedicated to helping homeless youth (24 or younger) be counted in the DC Department of Human Services’ youth-specific homeless census. This census brings government awareness to the housing needs of homeless youth and also allows for more resources to be shared and funded. Here is an interview with Molly Vetter on behalf of YouthCount DC on this year’s census:
Why is being counted important?
Being counted is so important! In order to end youth homelessness, D.C. government agencies need to have a full understanding of the issue's youth experiencing housing instability are facing. Youth participation ensures that D.C. government agencies are aware of the housing needs of young people.
Who can see the data? What is the census used for?
Once we are able to go through the data and make sure we have only one survey for every eligible person, we will combine all the data so no personal information is available and share that information with the public. You will be able to find the data on the TCP website.
The census is used to plan and fund programming and resources for youth experiencing housing instability. The census allows us to better understand the needs of young people so we can end youth homelessness.
What other ways can homeless youth make their voices heard?
Become a member of the Supporting Hopeful Youth (SHY), Youth Action Board. The DC SHY members are responsible for leading change and providing feedback to the D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness, collecting homeless youth data during outreach events, and sharing resources with youth experiencing housing instability.
If someone isn’t homeless, how can they help?
Help spread the word! Tell youth experiencing housing instability in your community that the youth count is happening and that their voice matters. Share information about the count on your social media and encourage your friends to do the same.
Look into all the great work youth providers are doing in D.C. and see how you can get involved:
When and where can youth take the survey?
Youth can take the survey Sept. 18-26 online on their own by going to the youth count website: youthcountdc.org and going to the “Take the survey!” page.
Youth can also take the survey at a drop-in center or ask a staff member or case manager they are already working with for help taking the survey.
When and where can youth receive the $10 gift card?
Youth will have 3 options of how to receive their gift card.
1. If they are already at a drop-in center or provider agency, they can get their gift card from a staff member.
2. They can select to pick up their gift card at pick up location. We may be able to include more pick-up locations but the confirmed pick-up locations right now are:
LAYC: Monday-Friday, 9am-2pm
Sasha Bruce: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Zoe's Doors: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Casa Ruby: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
HIPS: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Covenant House: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
3. They can provide a phone number or email and someone from TCP will be in touch with them directly about receiving their gift card.
Check out YouthCounts at their website youthcountdc.org, and if you or anyone you know are experiencing homelessness make sure to fill out their survey!