Emily Aerts, Chelsia Davis and Joshua Downes
Youth Count! 2013 was sponsored by the City of Billings as a component of Welcome Home Billings, the City's ten-year plan to impact homelessness. This joint effort between Tumbleweed and the Billings Metro VISTA Project originated through the City's Community Development Division with the following intentions:
- Prepare and facilitate a count to enumerate and assess youth experiencing homelessness in the Billings area.
- Enable policymakers and service providers to better plan, fund and shape services that accurately reflect the needs of homeless youth in the community to ultimately reduce their number for years into the future.
Project Manual & Appendices
This project manual, including the following appendices, has been developed as a model to assist other communities in conducting their own Youth Count! survey
- VISTA Assignment Description
- Strategic Implementation Plan
- Youth Count! Survey Instrument
- Volunteer Training & Management Plan
- Volunteer Survey & Recommendations
- Overall Cohort Data
- Urban / Baseline Cohort Data This cohort of 45 surveys represents a more typical overview of youth and young adult homelessness in Billings. Data analysis of this cohort begins on page 38 of the project manual.
- Outlier Cohort Data Surveys in this cohort were segregated during data analysis as they were reportedly garnered from a group of individuals living collectively outside the City of Billings limits. Very few survey questions were completed, resulting in an atypical and limited view of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in the area. Data analysis begins on page 43 of the project manual.
- Comparing Cohorts Data
- Data Compilation Narrative Responses to Survey Questions
There was no accurate picture of the number, characteristics and needs of homeless youth in Billings, Montana. Each January, communities across the country conduct a census, Point-In-Time (PIT) count of their homeless populations. Data on unaccompanied homeless youth is currently unavailable, as a national standard for counting this cohort has not yet been established. Available PIT data vastly under-represents the number of youth experiencing homelessness and services required to impact poverty conditions.
Media & News
- Survey planned to count, understand Billings' homeless youth population
- Survey to count Billings' homeless youth wraps up
- I need a family, just not mine: Survey offers unique look at homeless youth in Billings