Youth Homelessness in Guilford County
On Friday, July 7th we had the opportunity to hear about the issues facing Guilford County’s most important residents: its young people. Guiding us through this topic were: Brian Hahne, executive director of Partners Ending Homelessness; Guilford County Schools’ homelessness liaison, Yatisha Blythe; and Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center. Yatisha Blythe gave us some statistics from Guilford County Schools. For the 2015-2016 school year Guilford County Schools had nearly 2,750 students complete a form that states that they are going through a housing crisis of some sort. The vast majority (84%) said that they were living with a relative because they lost housing – with 287 of those children in Kindergarten. Another 201 children (7%) were living in inadequate housing: motels, hotels, and campgrounds being the place the child and their family sleeps. Of Guilford County School’s 2,750 “students in transition” 141 (5%) of them have lived in an emergency shelters, transitional housing shelter, or a domestic violence shelter during the school year. For a variety of reasons 65 (2%) students ran away from their home and are living with another individual.
One child going without a house is one child too much. Both Brian Hahne and Michelle Kennedy told some of the stories of the homeless youth they have worked with: one, an LGBTQ+ teenager who ran away from an abusive home situation; or a child who was traveled miles to Greensboro to end up at the front door of the Interactive Resource Center to seek assistance with mental health issues. These are stories unfolding daily right here in Guilford County. Many thanks to Brian Hahne, Yatisha Blythe, and Michelle Kennedy for informing us on these issues and for making this Housing Hangout one of the best yet! It is now up to the Guilford County community to end homelessness among our youngest residents. Please come to our next Housing Hangout on “Housing and Health!”