Youth Homelessness in Central Florida

The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and its community partners announced a new study identifying the number of unaccompanied youth ages 13-24 experiencing homelessness across Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.

The information was released Tuesday. 

Officials said the study found 268 unaccompanied youth were homeless or unstably housed on a single night in October 2017.  

These individuals met the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of youth homelessness, which is unaccompanied youth 13-24, the commission said. 

Breaking down the numbers, officials said 33 percent were unsheltered or unstably housed; 12 percent of those encountered were minors between the ages of 13-17.  

Study findings also indicated that 42 percent of individuals surveyed were African American, 26 percent white or Caucasian, and 19 percent Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish.  

Officials said the young people surveyed had much higher rates of pregnancy and contact with the criminal justice system than their stably housed peers. 

Authorities involved in the survey said the data came from the results from the three-day count across Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties on October 17-19, 2017, which consisted of a street count and organizational count.

They said the data underscores the diverse experiences and characteristics of youth facing homelessness in Central Florida and reveal the multiple needs young people have, as well as the different systems with which they interact, including housing, child welfare, justice, behavioral health, nutrition, education, and career supports.  

Authorities involved added that the report also underscores the importance of a community-level coordinated strategy to make youth homelessness rare, brief, and one time.

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