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A youth count is an event where community volunteers come together to canvas city streets, parks, and green belts to get an estimated census of all youth experiencing homelessness in their community. These youth are experiencing various degrees of homelessness from “couch surfing” or temporarily staying and moving between groups of friends to living in temporary housing such as motels, hotels, shelters, or living out on the street. To plan for your count, you will need to take into consideration where and how these youth can be found within your community.

Many communities incorporate a two-pronged approach to finding youth that includes canvassing and hosting a magnet event. In the resources below, you will find information to help you implement both approaches.


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Youth Count Strategies: A resource with methods and strategies to successful youth counts in schools, shelters, and canvassing.



resource paper buttonCanvassing and Mapping Strategies: A resource with information about geography-based and service-based count strategies.



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Best Practices for Youth Count Magnet Events: A resource outlining coalition building, incentives for participation, and event planning/marketing strategies.


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Event Planning Checklist: A one-page event planning checklist to help guide your planning team and track everything needed for a successful youth count magnet event.