ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a 2022 Youth REACH (Reach out, Engage, Assist, and Count to end Homelessness) count from March 1 through March 14 with the Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS). The count is a statewide effort to address – and ultimately prevent – youth homelessness in Howard County and across Maryland by obtaining information on the number, characteristics, and needs of youth ages 25 and under who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
We must identify the extent of youth homelessness in Howard County to provide support and resources to these young people. This count is another step to ensure that when homelessness occurs – especially for our youngest residents – it is brief, rare, and non-recurring.
To best identify this hidden population, Howard County Youth REACH activities will take place across the county during the first two weeks of March. Activities will include targeted surveying with the Howard County School System, Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, and other partners, as well as promotional advertising on social media, surveying at youth hotspots across the county, and at youth events throughout March and April.
“The Youth REACH Count helps us identify the number, characteristics, and unique needs of Howard County youth and young adults under 25 who lack stable and permanent housing,” said DCRS Director Jackie Scott. “The data we collect will be used to improve the services and resources available to support these youth and young adults with the goal of ending homelessness in our community.”
“In Howard County and across Maryland, we know this a hidden population,” said Kim Eisenreich, administrator of DCRS’ Office of the Local Children’s Board. “We don't typically see youth experiencing homelessness on the streets or in shelters. Many go to work or attend school each day, but they lack a safe, stable place to call home. The reasons are varied – some have left abusive situations, others may have left the foster care or juvenile justice systems with nowhere to go, still others were rejected by their families for who they are, or their families may no longer be able to support them because of their own challenges.”
"Young adults who couch surf may not view themselves as homeless," said Rose Burton, administrator of DCRS' Office of Community Partnerships, which coordinates the County's response to homelessness. "They usually don't show up at shelters or access community services where they’d be counted, which keeps them “invisible” and limits the resources and supports available to them.”
For questions or more information, visit www.youthreachmd.com or contact Candace Ball in the Office of the Local Children’s Board at 410-313-6552 (voice/relay) or [email protected].