Planning a Youth Count
The first step of planning a Youth Count is to first consider other methods of enumeration that are happening in your community. Is your community presently conducting a general PiT Count? Will the Youth Count coincide with the general count? Or will the Youth Count occur separately? Strive to build as much alignment as possible between the two counts. If you endeavour to align your Youth Count with an existing local count, your methodology will be affected accordingly. This Toolkit explains how to conduct a separate Youth Count and, alternatively, how to build alignment with a general PiT Count. For the latter, look to the “Building Alignment: Tips & Strategies” sections.
Underpinning Principles of a Youth Count:
- The safety and well-being of youth participants, volunteers and partners is the most important priority.
- Youth, with a range of backgrounds and experiences, should meaningfully inform all aspects of a Youth Count.
- A Youth Count should be driven by strong and meaningful partnerships; it should not be a divisive force.
- Results of a Youth Count should be carefully communicated; results should not be construed to support common misconceptions about homeless youth.
- A Youth Count cannot capture the total extent of youth homelessness in a community; it provides a snapshot – the minimum number of youth experiencing homelessness.