More people in Georgia are homeless, including families and young people. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports 20,360 people in Georgia had no home in 2009, up 7% from the year before. Even more alarming is the number of people doubling up, or living with friends or family because of economic hardship: 272,305 people. That’s right- more than a quarter million of your friends and neighbors have doubled up in Georgia, and that number is 10% higher than the year before. The Alliance reports there are also 728 homeless young people who’ve aged out of foster care and are on the streets alone.
In the season of warm fuzzy sweaters and family get-togethers, many young people in Georgia have but one New Year’s resolution – a safe place to sleep at night. An unknown number of teenagers and young adults are alone and homeless in Georgia. Who they are and where they are – no one knows much about them. For the first time Georgia is undertaking an ambitious project to count a representative sample of these homeless youth statewide, and develop a uniform reporting system. Funded by the Governor’s Office for Families and Children, the project takes place during the last week of January. The Homeless Youth Count Project is part of a bi-annual census of homeless people of all ages, mandated by HUD. As part of this initiative The State Department of Community Affairs is sending out a questionnaire to service providers in 152 counties, which for the first time, will ask for specific information about homeless young people, 24 and younger.