Earlier this month, KidsData and the California Homeless Youth Project hosted “Bringing Youth Homelessness Into Focus,” a discussion of data trends, information gaps, resources, and tools—framed and informed by a young person’s lived expertise of homelessness.
Panelists from diverse sectors and regions examined some of the challenges and opportunities for using data and technology to address California’s youth homelessness crisis. Here are three main takeaways:
1. There are major limitations and variation in how data are collected and reported. Different data sources use different definitions of homelessness, and as a result offer wildly different answers to the question, “How many youth are experiencing homelessness in California?”
Homeless Unaccompanied Youth Under Age 25: 2022
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which counts people experiencing homelessness on a single night each January, found that around 10,000 young people ages 0 to 24 in California were unaccompanied (meaning they were not counted as part of a family with children) and staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens, or unsheltered locations.
Homeless Public School Students: 2020-21
By contrast, data collected by the California Department of Education (CDE)—which capture the number of public school students staying in hotels, motels, or shared housing with others (around 90% of all homeless students), in addition to those in temporary shelters or unsheltered locations—identified nearly 230,000 young people who experienced homelessness during the 2020-21 school year. Still, CDE data are not comprehensive, leaving out young people not enrolled in school and those experiencing homelessness outside of the school year, among other groups.
2. Tools to prevent or address homelessness should be developed with user needs at the forefront. Vu-Bang Nguyen of Exygy and Denise McCain-Tharnstrom of Our Community LA shared how lived expertise informs every step of the development process for the Bay Area’s Doorway Housing Portal and Los Angeles County’s WIN What I Need mobile app.
3. Destigmatizing homelessness is critical. The narrative of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” can be harmful, leading youth and families to blame themselves for circumstances outside of their control. The problem is compounded by overlapping barriers to navigating available service systems—from transportation challenges to lack of necessary information—that can prevent people experiencing homelessness or housing instability from seeking and accessing help.
Areas of focus and growth:
- When asked which data they wished were available, participants pointed to gaps in detailed data for homeless subgroups, such as breakdowns by age or juvenile justice involvement.
- Discussion from panelists, as well as comments and poll responses from participants, suggest that more resources are needed—both to provide housing and to connect those experiencing housing instability or homelessness with the supports they need.
KidsData in the News
A KION-TV news piece cited KidsData on the supply and cost of child care in Monterey County.
Changes to survey questions related to disability, health insurance coverage, and other topics are being considered for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2025 ACS and PRCS. Submit your comments on the proposed revisions by December 19.
Children’s Health Resources
The National Center for Health Statistics has released several new resources related to U.S. children’s health:
- Interactive Summary Health Statistics for Teens, based on the National Health Interview Survey–Teen
- Emergency Department Visits Related to Mental Health Disorders Among Children and Adolescents: United States, 2018–2021 [PDF]
- Long COVID in Children: United States, 2022
Data from the 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health are featured in two recent data briefs from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau:
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released highlights from its consensus study on Reducing Intergenerational Poverty.
Two recent publications from the California Essentials for Childhood Initiative and its partners highlight 2021 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and California Health Interview Survey:
- Adverse and Positive Childhood Experiences Data Report: An Overview of Adverse and Positive Childhood Experiences in California [PDF]
- Adverse Childhood Experiences and Substance Use Among Teens in California [PDF]
The Children’s Partnership has released a community outreach toolkit, ALL IN to Keep Kids Covered, designed to help schools, child care providers, and other child and family champions share information about the Medi-Cal renewal process with families.
The California Health Care Foundation plans to award grants of up to $150,000 for quality improvement projects that address anti-Black racism in California’s health care delivery system. Register for an informational webinar on Friday, December 1, at 1:00 p.m. PT.
On Tuesday, December 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a webinar focused on factors contributing to the current mental health crisis among children and youth, including inequities in the mental health system.
Recently Released Data
We recently released data about homelessness, housing affordability and resources, and unemployment. See links to the latest here.
Posted by kidsdata.org