September 19, 2017

Homeless Youth Report Shows Signs Of Rising Population

The Reuben Engagament Center is the only substance-abuse detox center for homeless people in Indianapolis. - Leigh DeNoon

The Reuben Engagament Center is the only substance-abuse detox center for homeless people in Indianapolis.

Leigh DeNoon

A new report on the homeless population in Marion County shows signs of an increase in young people experiencing homelessness.

Once a year the Coalition For Homelessness Intervention & Prevention, or CHIP, conducts a point-in-time homeless count. After seeing evidence that homeless youth numbers might be rising in ways they couldn’t detect, they decided to start an annual count focused entirely on those under age 24.

The report does show an increase. They found 87 youth in the new count, compared to 78 in their regular January survey.

CHIP’s director Alan Witchey says one detail that stood out to researchers was a strong desire from homeless youth to attain some education. He says many have trouble with process – things like applying for loans or completing online applications.

“This really speaks highly to the need of mentors, and adults, that are gonna be responsible for helping youth learn and develop plans, for education and for careers,” Witchey says.

In its report CHIP found a disproportionate number of women and African Americans. And 25 percent of those counted say they’re dealing with a mental illness.

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