City of Walla Walla chosen to participate in 'Voices of Youth Co - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Walla Walla chosen to participate in 'Voices of Youth Count' homelessness study

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WALLA WALLA, WA - Walla Walla is 1 of 22 cities chosen to participate in a National Youth Homelessness Study. We met with a few of the organizers to learn how this study will impact the community.

The study "Voices of Youth Count" is a first-of-its-kind effort to end youth homelessness and is being done through Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

On a local level, Walla Walla hopes to get a detailed and accurate count of the number of youth that are homeless and then use that information to expand programs that could prevent the problem in the near future. Some of those programs include access to mental health, family reconciliation services and recreation.

"When you have accurate numbers, you can accurately fund the programs that you're wanting to do," said Jennifer Breckmeyer, Community Development Block Grant Coordinator.

Community partner, Tim Mehlia says this study provides an opportunity to analyze and address risk factors that eventually lead to homelessness. 

"To really delve into what's causing this, the homelessness for our youth, and to embrace them, embrace that population that sometimes we tend to turn away from," said Mehlia. 

The actual count is set to start in June, followed by a provider survey to review local policies affecting homelessness in Walla Walla.