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YouthCount 2.0!

Funded by the Greater Houston Community Foundation

YouthCount 2.0!

About YouthCount 2.0!  
Meet the Team
Community Partners
Community Advisory Group
Homeless Youth Resource List

The Youth Count 2.0! team will share finding in a community forum at the Homeless Youth Network of Houston/Harris County on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  See our Events page for details.

For an in-depth report on our findings please reference the full report and infographics.

View the Full Report of Findings from Youth Count 2.0.

YouthCount 2.0! Infographics


About YouthCount 2.0!

Homeless youth are a vulnerable and invisible population that has been historically undercounted in federal, state, and local efforts to enumerate the homeless population. Conflicting definitions of youth homelessness across federal agencies make it difficult to correctly identify the size of the population. Accurate data on the prevalence and the composition of the homeless youth population are significantly lacking both nationally and locally.  YouthCount 2.0! is a community generated project led by the University of Houston and funded by the Houston Community Foundation to count youth in unstable housing in Harris County. 

YouthCount 2.0! used an inclusive definition of homelessness to count youth between the ages of 13-24 who were homeless or unstably housed.  We counted youth who were staying in shelters or transitional housing programs and those that spent the previous night on the streets, in a car, hotel/motel, vacant apartment, or other place not meant for human habitation.  We also counted youth who were currently staying with a friend or non-custodial family member but didn’t know where they would stay in the next 30 days. 

Key Findings 

  • 420 were directly counted and surveyed 
  • 205 youth reported that they had spent the previous night in a shelter 139 had slept on the streets or another place not meant for human habitation 
  • 76 had stayed with a friend, relative or acquaintance.  
  • 212 additional youths were counted using data from the Homeless Management Information System  
  • 632 youth were counted in total 

Who did we find? 

  • The mean age of the sample was 20, 87% were between 18-24 
  • 54% reported their gender as male, 42% as female, 4% as transgender/something else.  
  • 76% identified themselves as straight and 24% identified as LGBQ 
  • Most identified as African American (61%), followed by White (16%), and Hispanic (15%) 
  • 93% were born in the United States 
  • 63reported their last permanent home was in the Houston Area.  
  • 68% had been homeless in the past prior to the current episode  

Prior System Involvement 

  • 51% of the sample reported that they had been in a detention center or jail at some point in their life.  
  • 31% had been involved with juvenile probation  
  • 13% reported aging out of the juvenile justice system.  
  • 41% reported being in foster care at some point in their lives 
  • 22% reported aging out of the foster care system.  

Services utilized and service needs 

  • 47% of the youth reported staying in emergency shelters 
  • 2% used transitional housing programs 
  • 19% went to drop- in centers 
  • 19% received health care services 
  • 18% had used job training programs or services 
  • 14% used educational programs 
  • When asked what types of services would be most helpful right now two thirds selected housing, 52% chose job training or job search services44% selected educational opportunitiesand 33% endorsed health care or mental health services 
  • Half reported there was a time where they thought about going to a shelter but did not go.  
  • Top reasons included they thought they could make it on their ownheard the shelter was dirty or bad, did not know where to go, did not like the way the shelter staff treated them, did not want others to know they were homeless, or had no transportation.  
  • 38% reported they had gone to shelter and not stayed the night 
  • Top reasons included that the shelter was full, felt uncomfortable, and were too old or too young. 



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For Further Questions Please Contact:  
Dr. Sarah Narendorf, Principal Investigator  
Dr. Diane Santa Maria, Principal Investigator 
Jenna Cooper, Project Coordinator 

Funded by the Greater Houston Foundation - Greater Houston Fund to End Homelessness and University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, Child and Family Center for Innovative Research 


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Community Partners 

  • Arrow Child and Family Ministries
  • Covenant House Texas
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • DePelchinChildrensCenter
  • Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults
  • Homeless Youth Network
  • Open Door
  • Houston: reVision
  • Kinder Shelter
  • Santa Maria Hostel
  • Community Youth Services
  • Salvation Army, Young Adult Resource Center
  • Communities in Schools
  • Montrose Grace Place
  • Open Gate
  • Mercy Place
  • Bridge of Trouble Water
  • The Beacon
  • Salvation Army Harbor Lights
  • New Hope Housing
  • Star of Hope
  • The Montrose Center
  • One Voice Texas
  • Houston Alumni Youth Center
  • StandUpfor Kids

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Community Advisory Group 

  • Charles Rotramel - Chief Executive Officer, Houston: reVision 
  • Jeanne Stamp, LCSW, LMFT, LCDC - Senior Program Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin 
  • Eva Thibaudeau-Graczyk - Director of Programs, Coalition for the Homeless 
  • Joel Levine - Children’s Services Administrator, Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults 
  • Thomas Chappell - Cornerstone 
  • Gary Grier - Project Manager, Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County 
  • Julie Crowe, LMSW - Prevention and Early Intervention Services, DePelchin Children’s Center 
  • Katherine Barillas, PhD - Director of Child Welfare Policy, One Voice Texas  

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