Methodology behind the Youth Count
|School Engagement ♦ Come & Be Counted Locations ♦ Organizational Connections ♦ Hotspots ♦ Snow Continengcy Planning ♦ Back to Main Table of Contents|
|The methodology and strategy around the CT Youth Count is important to count as many homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults as possible while maintaining the highest possible quality of data.|
The 2018 CT Youth Count!
The 2018 CT Youth Count will take place from January 24-30, 2018 directly following the night of the annual Point-in-Time Count. While the survey is administered throughout the week to youth and young adults below the age of 25 (13-24), the data collected measures the homelessness on the single night of January 23rd. The survey must also be administered to the individual by a trained volunteer.
Surveys should be administered through the mobile app which will be available for all smart phones and tablets. While discouraged, if necessary the survey can be administered in paper form. For more information on the app, please click here.
There are several strategies that each regional YETI should be implementing to reach as many young people as possible.
Each YETI should work to engage McKinney-Vento Liaisons, principals, and schools to be on their team for long-term work to end youth homelessness in that region. McKinney-Vento Liaisons are responsible for connecting homeless youth to resources in their area and can be a gateway into school systems.
The purpose of engaging schools is to increase awareness among youth and young adults to encourage them to be counted as well as volunteer. For schools, we have developed a school engagement packet which includes materials to introduce the Youth Count and elaborate on the different levels of involvement. Check out these resources in the school engagement packet below.
For 2018, we are working to engage schools to participate in the School Engagement Packet, Youth Count, and ending youth homelessness by presenting the lesson plan in the packet to their schools during National Homeless and Hunger Awareness week from November 11th -18th.
If your school or a school you are involved with would like to sign up to participate, click here!
During the 2017 CT Youth Count, schools vary on the level to which they can be involved in administering surveys. Since the survey is self-identifying, districts vary on how they interpret laws and policies regarding whether it can be administered in schools. While some schools are open to allowing for guidance counselors or other staff to administer the survey, others restrict it to off the school premises. Counselors and liaisons can direct students that they have identified to Come and Be Counted Locations to be surveyed there as well as assist through informational posters and word of mouth.
During the 2017 Count, Governor Dannel Malloy encouraged the collaboration of all Connecticut schools in engaging in the Youth Count as well as learning more about how to address homelessness and housing instability in schools. Click here to read more.
McKinney-Vento Liaisons may be a strong entry point to engaging with the school system and other members of the community for the youth count and overall initiatives to end youth homelessness.
Come and Be Counted Locations
A Come and Be Counted location is a place where volunteers are stationed for a certain time to administer the Youth Count survey to youth and young adults that present themselves. These locations can be places outside of schools or near community centers that are advertised through communications materials within schools or at key locations where unstably housed youth may gather.
Examples include libraries with youth service departments, coffee shops or food locations near high schools or community colleges.
To set up one of these locations:
- Consider the target population you are hoping to engage when determining the location.
Remember that homeless and unstably housed youth often hang out where other youth in the community are going. Generally, this includes coffee shops and other public locations with wifi.
- Utilize the perspectives of youth and young adults to determine effective locations, potential incentives to increase participation, and strategies to engage youth and young adults.
Be creative! Some regions are offering headphones and gift cards to local hang-outs. Be aware that youth are the best sources of information on what their peer group might like.
- As the count will be at the end of January, indoor locations may be preferable.
While indoor locations may be most popular, be aware that some outdoor locations such as Skateparks and ice rinks may be populated as well.
- Businesses or nonprofits should be informed that the survey is being administered.
This is especially true if the event is being advertised and students or youth are being directed to these locations. Make sure that if you are offering food as an incentive the organization is aware and has given approval.
- Advertise to the target population where the location is and when volunteers are available.
Organizations which have the staff and capacity to administer the youth count survey without the presence of volunteers can be locations where youth can be directed throughout the week. These locations are important to strengthen connections in local communities and are an opportunity to build relationships for future efforts to end youth homelessness in Connecticut.
To set up one of these locations:
- Determine which locations will have access to connections with youth and young adults experiencing housing instability.
Examples may include health clinics, libraries, community centers, youth service bureaus, and counseling centers.
- Engage these locations personally with information on why the Youth Count is important and the effect of data on obtaining resources for these youth and young adults.
Click here for a flyer that can be used to elaborate on the Youth Count to prospective partner organizations.
- Train staff at the locations to administer the survey.
All volunteers or staff who will be administering the survey must be trained in-person before participating. Contact email@example.com to be connected to your Youth Engagement Team Initiative leader or if you are having trouble reaching them. Make sure that they have a contact information for troubleshooting throughout the week.
Hotspots are indoor or outdoor locations where youth and young adults tend to congregate and can be engaged for the Youth Count. These are locations where volunteers will need to be deployed to outreach during the survey.
To prepare to survey hotspots in the Youth Count:
Determine at least one hotspot in each town or community. Youth and young adults with lived experience are essential to determining the most effective survey hotspots as well as the best time to outreach.
Map these locations with the Youth Engagement Team Initiatives through the regional Google Maps that they maintain to track these locations and determine where teams of volunteers are necessary.
Train and organize volunteers into teams to outreach and administer the survey at those locations.
For access to your region’s 2018 CT Youth Count! map of hotspots, organizations, and schools please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Only members of the Youth Engagement Team Initiatives should have access.
Snow Contingency Planning
In 2015, the Point-in-Time count had to be postponed due to severe weather conditions and the date had to be moved back considerably. The Youth Count must take place the week following the PIT. The snow date for the PIT this year is the next day, January 24, 2018 and will be moved back in accordance to any change to the initial date due to unexpected weather.
In order to be prepared if dangerous weather forces another postponement, it is important to inform organizations that you are working with of the potential change and include it in all communications on Come and Be Counted locations.