VYH’s Bridge2Home Program Participates in Study on Rural Youth Homelessness
This spring, VYH’s Bridge2Home Host Homes program in Western PA participated in a virtual focus group led by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago about addressing rural youth homelessness. Our Bridge2Home: a Host Homes program connects youth (ages 16-24) who are experiencing housing instability with volunteer homes in in Allegheny (ages 18-24), Armstrong, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Venango, Washington, and Westmoreland (ages 16-20) counties.
Stakeholders reported that counting methods currently substantially underestimate the number of youth experiencing homelessness in rural methods due to the lack of awareness of rural homelessness in communities, stigma, and distrust of public systems. Alternative methods to identify and count youth experiencing homelessness, such as universal screening, data linkages, and representative surveys, should be explored.
The final report was recently published and can be found here: Challenges and Opportunities in Addressing Rural Youth Homelessness. The hope is that this report helps to spark dialogue and action on solutions to youth homelessness in rural America.