Melissa Izinga conducts the CT Youth Count survey using the special app for smart phones.
Youth Count participants at the Hartford Probation Office; (l to r) Melissa Izinga, The Connection; Suzanne Piacentini, HUD Hartford Field Office Director and Amanda Gordon, Journey Home.
Connecticut joined the rest of the nation in conducting its annual homeless Point In Time count with more than 70 agencies and more than 300 volunteers from across the state participating. In addition to the regular Point In Time count, more than 400 volunteers also engaged in the state’s third annual Youth Count, a statewide volunteer effort that builds on best practices from previous counts to estimate the number of homeless and unstably housed youth. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), oversees the state’s Youth Count, with the information gathered helping the state to focus on its goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.
The Youth Count is essential to getting data and resources to achieve the 2020 goal. Collaboration between service providers, community groups and youth help make the count possible. CT’s count was conducted between January 24-30, 2018, with teams of youth and volunteers surveying young people along routes, at organizations and at hotspots to collect information on their housing status. The surveyed youth are not identified by name, but volunteers can connect youth to services during the count. The collected information is the sent to CCEH to analyze and share with community, state and federal partners.
To simplify the survey process, volunteers were able to complete the survey on smartphones or tablets through an app built by a team at Microsoft and Hartford-based technology services provider Nutmeg Consulting. The app makes it easier for volunteers to participate, while also making the data collection more accurate and efficient by eliminating manual data entry and the labor and time costs associated with it.