Urban Peak’s Outreach Counselors to Collect Data on Youth Homelessness
Denver, Colorado (January 31, 2014) – Colorado’s annual Point-in-Time survey is underway this week. Urban Peak, Denver’s largest non-profit organization serving youth who are experiencing homelessness, is working with the Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI) on a collaborative effort to survey the people experiencing homelessness in our community as part of the national Point-in-Time Homeless Persons Count. The survey, as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities that receive federal funding for homeless initiatives, provides a snapshot of the individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness on any given night in communities around the state and nation.
“The Point-In-Time survey is key for us on a number of levels,” said Kim Easton, Urban Peak’s CEO. “Most importantly, the survey elevates the issue of youth homelessness to national scale. During this critical week, homelessness is on the mind of virtually every government official from Alaska to Texas to Colorado. As we know, awareness or acknowledgement of an issue is always the first step in finding a solution.”
“Those who are unfamiliar with the issue of homelessness are, more often than not, in shock when they hear or see a report on the sheer number of unaccompanied youth who are living on the streets each night,” continued Easton. “Sadly, those of us in the human services field know all too well that the Point-in-Time survey only captures a portion of the individuals who are actually experiencing homelessness.”
Last year the 2013 Point-in-Time survey revealed that there are 921 youth ages 13-24 who experience homelessness in the Denver metro area on any given night. That number is only a fraction – 40% — of the 2,550 youth that Urban Peak served during the same fiscal year.
“For us, the most important piece of information stemming from the Point-In-Time survey, more than the actual number of youth on the streets on any given night, is the year-over-year growth rates,” said Easton. “Is the number of youth experiencing homelessness increasing or decreasing from one year to the next? What are the trends statewide, nationwide? As an organization, we compile data from a variety of sources, the Point-In-Time survey included, to determine the courses of action that best meet the needs of this fragile population.”
The Point-in-Time Survey provides a count of sheltered (those staying at homeless shelters, visiting food banks, human service offices, etc.) and unsheltered homeless persons. Counts are further broken down into subpopulation categories including counts of persons who are chronically homeless, persons with severe mental illness, chronic substance abusers, Veterans, persons with HIV/AIDS, youth, families, and victims of domestic violence.
The Outreach counselors at Urban Peak will be collecting data for the Point-In-Time survey throughout the week. All youth who enter Urban Peak’s Drop-In Center are being surveyed as well as any youth the Outreach team interacts with on the streets of Denver. Urban Peak staff and volunteers are surveying youth they encounter on the 16th Street Mall, in parks, river walks, parking lots and garages, and other outdoor locations.
The findings from this year’s Point-In-Time survey will be released in late April, early May.
About Urban Peak
Founded in 1988, Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in Denver that provides a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 through 24 experiencing homelessness or youth who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Urban Peak serves youth along their individual journeys to self-sufficiency in providing numerous amenities, programs and services including a 40-bed shelter, daytime drop-in center and activities, housing, education and employment services, case management, life skills courses, mental health evaluations, meals and more. In fiscal year 2013, Urban Peak served 2,331 unduplicated youth. For more information, visit www.urbanpeak.org.