243257 Homeless Youth as Census Takers and Surveyors to Study the Homeless

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:15 PM

Samantha Green, MA , Applied Survey Research, Watsonville, CA
HUD is proposing requiring homeless youth counts in 2013. Applied Survey Research (ASR) is an early adopter of homeless youth counts and is now completing 7 such projects for San Francisco, Orange, Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma counties in California and the greater Las Vegas area. Since 1996, ASR has trained homeless individuals to conduct censuses and surveys of other homeless people for Continuum of Care organizations. HUD has recognized this methodology as a best practice. For the last several years, ASR has been working with homeless youth to conduct youth counts. Homeless youth are experts on homelessness (where youth are located, how they became homeless, their challenges, and how best to reach out to them). There are two parts to the current projects: a point-in-time count and peer to peer homeless youth surveys. The surveys collect data on: access to and sources of medical care, mental health, HIV/AIDS, violence, sexuality, foster care, and causes of homelessness. ASR will document: how this participatory research approach generates the greatest outreach and most comprehensive data; how homeless youth are recruited and trained for this research; challenges to working with homeless youth; and how high quality research translates into public policy changes for the homeless (new funding, shelters, programs). These findings can be used to help with other homeless youth counts that may be required of counties in 2013 in order to maintain federal homeless funding. All data will be available by May 2011.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss why this methodology yields results that are superior to other approaches involving service providers, volunteers, or professional researchers. Describe how homeless youth are recruited to help find pockets of homeless youth, many of whom often hide. Discuss challenges to working with homeless youth. Discuss changes to point in time counts due to changing federal policy.

Keywords: Homelessness, Child/Adolescent

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-managed these research projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.