Homeless Youth Count Results Show Grim Picture

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RENO, NV - The results from the 2014 Homeless Youth Count are back, and the numbers are harsh.

The count was conducted on January 30th, 2014, and for 24 hours, the non-profits Nevada Youth Empowerment Project and Build Our Center set up a tent where young, homeless people could get help for housing, hygiene, food, and more.

During that time period, non-profit volunteers also combed the streets, looking for homeless youths.

The non-profits shared the resulted with KOLO 8 News Now's Angela Chen, and these are the results from the count:
For 2014, 44 homeless youths were found.
18% said they are sleeping outside.
84% said if someone offered them housing today, they would take it.
50% said they eat one meal or less per day.

The 2014 count of 44 homeless young people is down from last year's count of 61, but organizers said this year's count fell on one of the coldest days of the year and that freezing temperatures made it hard to get an accurate number. They also said when a cold snap hits, the homeless tend to room together and stay indoors. They believe 44 is a under-representation of the actual number of homeless youth in Reno. The count also revealed that the condition of the homeless youths is worse than it was a year ago and that this year, their need is greater.

Non-profit staff said the effort focused on the homeless youth because young people are more open to listening and receiving help. They also said that they want to catch these youths before homelessness becomes chronic later in their lives.

The term "homeless" includes not only people who are living and sleeping on the streets but also people who don't have a permanent home. There are thousands of kids in Washoe County who are considered homeless because they live in a shelter, out of hotel rooms or on a friend's couch.

If you'd like to help the homeless youth of Reno, contact the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project at nyep.org or Build Our Center at buildourcenter.org.