Homeless Youth Count Finds Numbers Rising in Miami-Dade

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And Gov. Scott cut $100,000 from homeless programs in Miami

A Miami initiative to track the homeless population released its numbers of homeless youth earlier this summer.

The program, iCount Miami, conducted its count throughout Miami-Dade County in January 2015, and found 112 homeless youth.

The pilot iCount in August 2013, found that there were 42 unaccompanied youth – about 33 percent of all those who responded to the survey. In January 2014 the number was 64.

A representative for iCount said that the numbers don’t necessarily mean that the population is growing, but that the volunteers are getting better at finding where the youth are each time the count is conducted. Also, the latest count included a way for people to fill out the survey online, and many youngsters hang out where they can access the Internet.

Youth homelessness is more difficult to track than adults because they congregate in different ways, and many don’t consider themselves to be homeless. On top of that, many different agencies have different definitions for homeless youth – according to iCount, only 11 youth respondents from the latest count would be considered homeless by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Public Schools reports that they have 3,066 unaccompanied youth.

For iCount Miami’s purposes, they count any unaccompanied minor – whether they’re sleeping on the beach or crashing on a friend’s couch – to be homeless. It’s the agency’s goal to end youth homelessness by 2020.

Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Scott made huge slashes to the Florida budget, eliminating $100,000 in funding to homeless programs in Miami-Dade County, according to a press release from SAVE. This includes the LGBTQ youth homelessness program by Citrus Health Network.

As much as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.

“This was a great project because it multiplied its own impact by matching the state funding I helped secure to available funding from local sources,” FL Rep. David Richardson said in the release. “We were proud to select Citrus Health to support this project when it started two years ago. It was the type of accountable, efficient, results-based program that we should be funding more of at all levels of government, and I promise to fight during the upcoming legislative session to restore funding for this critical service.”


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