COUNCILWOMAN HELEN GYM TO HELP TRACK YOUTH HOMELESSNESS

In Council News, Helen Gym, News by PHL Council

PHILADELPHIA – January 27, 2016 – Today, Councilwoman Helen Gym, chair of the newly-created Committee on Children and Youth, will join Council President Darrell Clarke and 90 volunteers in a quarterly count of youth experiencing homelessness across the city.

“Our youth who experience homelessness face enormous challenges,” said Councilwoman Helen Gym. “They deserve to be seen and heard by our community and its leaders—and their needs, so often neglected, must be met. I am proud to join the coalition led by Valley Youth House to amplify their voices and our understanding of how to better improve our city response.”

“I’m proud to join in this crucial Youth Count, which will help us better understand and respond to the needs of our youth living with homelessness,” said Clarke. “Data are important, but we also must actually listen to young people tell us about their experiences with homelessness in order to fix the systems that failed them.”

TRACKING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS

Wed., Jan 27th, 2:45 p.m.
1500 Sansom St., #300a
Philadelphia, Pa

Schedule of events
2:45 p.m – Volunteer congregation at Valley Youth House
3:00 p.m. – Walkthrough of Love Park, beginning of Point in Time count

Led by Valley Youth House and partners Project HOME, the Attic Youth Center, the Mazzoni Center, and other nonprofits, volunteers will fan out across the city throughout the afternoon and well into the night, interviewing young people who are living in the streets, unsheltered, or in temporary shelters and assessing their needs.

Philadelphia’s rate of youth homelessness is startlingly high: experts estimate that nine percent of the city’s 53,000 public high school students have experienced homelessness. Many of these young people are couch surfing, finding shelter with friends or acquaintances, or living in traditional shelters. Roughly half of them are black and nearly one in five identifies as LGBTQ. Youth who experience homelessness have experienced persistent traumas—many of them having moved in and out of the child welfare system for much of their lives.
To learn more about youth homelessness in Philadelphia, read a 2015 DHS report, which found that nearly 9%, (5,000) youth ages 11-18 who were enrolled in public high schools had experienced Homelessness.

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Helen Gym was sworn in for her first term as a Philadelphia Councilmember-At -Large in January 2016. Her primary concerns include addressing widespread poverty in Philadelphia, particularly through an emphasis on building a quality public education system that anchors schools within communities. For more information, visit phlcouncil.com/HelenGym.

 


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