Tompkins County has not been immune to homeless youth population rises that have also been seen nationally. But with the county’s housing stock already nearly at capacity, particularly for lower-income people, agencies have begun to focus their efforts on stemming the rising tide of homeless youths.
In recent weeks, several local organizations have been working together on a campaign to end youth homelessness throughout Ithaca and Tompkins County. Shawnee Emmett, the family support specialist for the Child Development Council, has found the growing issue of youth homelessness in Ithaca has become more of a noticeable problem, although how the youths come to be homeless can be due to a variety of factors.
“It’s called the 100-Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness, and we understand that we aren’t going to end youth homelessness,” Emmett said. “We are working through a prevention model. There is a larger national concerted effort and we are one of four communities in the country who have been chosen to create this plan, and each community does it differently to house youth. Every city has a specific goal, and our goal is to house 50 youth by the end of the 100 days. Our goal is to connect them to community services and surround them with circles of support.”