Initiative director sonali patel talks voices of youth count
It’s been a busy, exciting summer for Voices of Youth Count, also known at VoYC! First, we had the launch In late June. All of us here have been humbled by the warm and supportive response we’ve received from across the field. The community of people who care deeply about seeing real improvements in the life circumstances of our nation’s unaccompanied homeless and runaway youth have stepped forward to let us know how much the work is needed and that they are paying attention, and that they are ready to engage! There are and will be many ways to engage. You can start now by following VoYC on Twitter (@Chapin_Hall) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChapinHall.UC).
We have had over a thousand unique visitors to the VoYC website (www.voicesofyouthcount.org) and several hundred have signed up for updates. That is exactly what we were hoping for when we launched with a commitment to transparency. Voices of Youth Count has also been working to bring on more national allies, with the latest being the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the American Bar Association Commision on Homelessness and Poverty. Stay tuned for more on this in the next newsletter.
Just a couple weeks ago, VoYC was the guest of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) Conference in Washington, D.C. Chapin Hall’s Executive Director, Bryan Samuels, spoke about Voices of Youth Count and I moderated a session on data related to runaway and homeless youth. If you weren’t able to catch this session, I’d encourage you to access the presentation here.
The NAEH conference also served to bring us all together as a community. We benefitted greatly from meeting up with old and new friends alike, all of whom bring incredible dedication to the issue of youth homelessness. We heard directly about the challenges and lessons communities have learned over the years conducting Youth PIT counts. VoYC is incorporating these into the research and policy work and look forward to more opportunities to connect with the field. If you have information to share or know of upcoming conferences related to youth homelessness, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.
As we make progress, we will look to engage as widely as possible. Our research team is working diligently on site selection, pilot interviews, and more – all toward a better count and a deeper understanding of the circumstances that youth find themselves in as they face the challenges of homelessness. Please stay tuned and in touch!