Last week, the Chapin Hall Voices of Youth Count report was released, shedding light on young people across the country including Suffolk County who are homeless. Attached are the full report and the one-page Suffolk County overview. Thank you for being part of the research and involving young people in your programs. This is an independent report of statistical data, based on a one-day point in time count. This objective data is very much needed to organize an effective response, but we know that behind the data are very real children, many of whom experienced abuse and neglect and who, through no fault of their own, are on the streets.
Suffolk County was one of 22 counties from across the United States that participated in this first-of-its-kind national effort aimed at collecting data needed to end youth homelessness. The data from the point in time count revealed many important points that will help us craft a local solution and not miss an opportunity to addresses the complex needs of our young people. The following are some specific findings for Suffolk County:
• 56% percent of Suffolk County’s homeless and unstably housed young people have been in the foster care and/or juvenile and criminal justice systems.
• 38% of these homeless youth are only 13 to 21 years old.
• While Boston has more established homeless service providers than other like-sized metropolitan areas, these providers predominantly serve adults and families who are homeless, with few accommodations for youth.
• 28% of females reported being pregnant or a parent and 11% of males reported they were parents or their partner was pregnant
• 25% identified as LGBTQ
• 67% of 18 to 25-year-olds had received a high school diploma or GED.
• 25% of homeless or unstably housed 18- to 25-year-olds were attending school
• The majority was male (65%)
• 40% percent of the surveyed youth identified as Black or African American yet they represent only 25% of the overall Suffolk County population
I look forward to working together in our continued partnership with you to address the needs of our most vulnerable young people and to develop permanent solutions to end youth homelessness. We will be convening groups for service providers and representatives from Chapin Hall in the coming months to review the data and develop a strategy for our collective response.
Voices of Youth Count is made possible with assistance from a broad range of providers in Suffolk County and with support from Liberty Mutual Foundation and Boston Department of Neighborhood Development.