Homeless youth count runs through Thursday
"For the second year in the row, Nevada ranked as the fastest-growing homeless youth population in the country," says Michele Gehr, Executive Director of
. She says most people in our community are not aware of how big the problem is, but the folks at Eddy House are. The center served more than 800 homeless or at-risk youth in 2018.
"And that's a significant increase from 2015 when there were fewer than 100 kids living on the streets," says Gehr.
In order to develop and fund supportive programs for these kids, they need to be counted each year. That's exactly what will be attempted during the 24-hour Homeless Youth Point in Time Count, starting at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, January 23. Homeless people ages 18 to 24 are encouraged to drop by Eddy House to be counted.
"It's just a snapshot," says Meredith Tanzer, with Our Center, the nonprofit organization that is coordinating the event with the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project, in partnership with Eddy House.
"It doesn't reflect the entire numbers, but it certainly gives an idea so HUD can assess our community and see where we're at in terms of homeless."
The event wouldn't be possible without people like Jasmine Dardy, a volunteer with Nevada Youth Empowerment, which will be assisting during the count on Thursday. She says she used to be like the homeless kids she now helps.
"As a youth, I can show my friends that we can still reach our dreams, reach our goals," she says.
Tanzer says you can't discount how important it is that this count raises awareness about the youth homeless problem that exists in Northern Nevada.
"Youth are hidden population," says Tanzer. "People don't want to acknowledge that there's a problem. If we do this count, every person is listening you talk about it. They're reading something in the paper about how this is a crisis and they're getting involved in the conversation, so it's imperative that it gets done."
To coincide with the 24-hour Point in Time Count, Eddy House is holding a 24-hour Donation Drive. They are collecting items that will be given to homeless and at-risk youth in our area. Tanzer says all people have to do is drive up to Eddy House any time Thursday and drop off items. While they are not accepting most clothing items, some items they could use include gift cards, sleeping bags, tents, hand warmers, and warm blankets.
Eddy House is at 423 E. 6th St. in Reno. It is a 2018