Michael Guinn is a man of many titles, some of which include social worker, youth poetry promoter, and youth empowerment specialist. He is also a housing coach for youth aging out of foster care. More than one in five youth become homeless after aging out of the foster care system at the age of eighteen—Michael helps to make sure the youth he works with don’t just become another statistic. We were lucky enough to see him in action in February, as he helped emcee the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance Kick-Back Party.
The event was coordinated as part of the Youth Count Texas! effort to survey homeless youth in Texas. Held at the at the Dallas Public Library, the event provided food, activities, and prizes for youth who participated. Local organizations that help vulnerable youth were also tabling there, and individuals could approach them to ask questions and receive helpful information. Each youth left the event at the end of the evening with their arms overflowing with items ranging from pamphlets, to snacks, to backpacks.
Guinn helped make the event a success by playing music, announcing raffle tickets, and coordinating games. His easygoing and caring rapport with the youth was undeniable. Here are some of his thoughts on youth homelessness in our state:
“A lot of youth don’t realize there are resources available to them, because they may not realize that they’re homeless. They’re couch surfing or sleeping in their cars.
The Youth Count Texas! event is a non-invasive and non-embarrassing way for youth to ask for help. It allows for their first impression of a social worker to not be in an office.
When you help homeless youth, there’s a ripple effect. By taking one kid off the street, risk factors for infectious diseases, criminal activity, and human trafficking decrease.
I want to be a part of this localized, collaborative effort to connect youth to the resources they may not know about. Ultimately, I wish we had a one-stop shop for youth 16 and older where they could receive therapeutic outreach, a bed, and access to long-term housing opportunities.”
To learn more about Youth Count Texas! visit our webpage dedicated to this statewide initiative.