There are 3,374 homeless and runaway youth in shelters, on the streets or in other precarious housing situations in the Atlanta metro area, according to the results of a project by Georgia State University and its partners to count and assess the area’s homeless youth.
Dr. Eric Wright, a professor of sociology and public health at Georgia State, announced the figures May 3 at a press conference with colleagues from Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Youth Spark and Street Grace.
[Photo: Dr. Eric Wright]
The estimate comes from the 2015 Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment (AYCNA), which was led by Georgia State. AYCNA is the first comprehensive, accurate count and assessment of the number of homeless youth in the Atlanta metro area, Wright said.
From May to July 2015, 50 Georgia State and Emory students counted homeless youth ages 14 to 25 living within Atlanta’s city limits and in suburbs around the Interstate 285 perimeter, including large segments of Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett counties.
Researchers found the vast majority of youth are African-American (71 percent) and male (60.5 percent). A little more than half reported that they were born in Georgia, and just over a quarter identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The data are still being analyzed, and further reports will be issued in the coming months.
“The City of Atlanta and other organizations across the metro area have expressed a lot of concern about youth homelessness,” Wright said. “We believe that by collecting these data, we’re going to be in a much better situation to talk about the array of needs that the youth will need.
“This is a very poorly understood social problem with lots of ramifications. They are exceptionally vulnerable from a social services perspective. We’re now in conversations with several groups to see what are we going to do to address those problems in the system.”
For more information about the project, including other key findings, visit atlantayouthcount.weebly.com.