|Our Vision||Our History||Board of Trustees||Needs|
All homeless, runaway and street-involved youth and young adults aged 16-24 years, as well as those similarly at-risk, will have access on demand to a continuum of housing and support services. On a daily basis, all HYN participating organizations will coordinate services to maximize collaborative effectiveness and usage of community services for every client.
Driven by the ever-increasing number of homeless, runaway and street-involved youth in our community needing even the most basic survival supports and services, an informal collaboration of the largest public and private agencies serving homeless youth in the greater Houston/Harris County metropolitan area banded together approximately 16 years ago to create the Homeless Network of Houston/Harris County (HYN). Among these agencies were Covenant House Texas, DePelchin Children’s Center, Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Region 6, The Center for Success andIndependence, Cathedral Health Ministries and other agencies serving homeless older youth. Our focus was to establish a community –wide continuum of supports and services to prevent youth homelessness, and help homeless youth exit the streets and move towards healthy independent living.Over time, this loosely organized group came to recognize that many activities could be done more efficiently and effectively through a more formalized collaborative network, rather than separately by individual agencies. The vision then expanded to initiate a formal organization which would be responsible for media/community awareness and involvement, outreach, broader community involvement, advocacy, and tapping into local funding streams to increase and/or expand services and supports to runaway, homeless and street-involved youth. Finally in 2007, the Homeless Youth Network of Houston/Harris County (HYN) was incorporated into a not-for-profit organizational structure.
Now HYN is a coalition of service providers, organizations, and individuals that seek to:
- Expand programs for homeless prevention and/or housing and/or support services to homeless youth and young adults within its Houston/Harris County, TX service area
- Ensure access to a continuum of services that will support all Houston/Harris County-area homeless, runaway and street-involved youth in exiting street life and in achieving healthy independent living.
Our members are dedicated to mobilizing our respective expertise and resources to address the risk and resiliency factors that can assist homeless, runaway and street-oriented youth to lead safe, drug-free, healthy and self-empowered lives. HYN partners work collaboratively to forge a common strategic plan to address the needs of local homeless, runaway and street-involved youth. We believe that HYN can respond more effectively to the needs of our Houston/Harris County area homeless, runaway and street-involved youth by:
- Coordinating services
- Establishing best practices
- Identifying service gaps and overlaps
- Planning strategies
- Speaking in a unified voice
HYN is a membership organization comprised of public and private youth service agencies in the Houston/Harris County area, and is directed by a Board of Trustees. The volunteer Board includes:
- Dr. Paul Mandell, Ph.D, University of Houston Downtown-
- Thomas Chappell, Community Member
- Candace J. Broussard, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services- Region 6 CPS
- Joel Levine, Harris County Protective Services (Interim President)
- Jenifer Jarriel, DePelchin Children’s Center
- Scott Lundy, Arrow Child and Family Ministries
- Leslie K. Bourne, Covenant House Texas
- Robert Sanborn, Children At Risk, Inc
- Steven Schnee, Ph.D. Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County
- Robert Woods, The Center for Success and Independence
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While the exact number of homeless youth in Houston/Harris County is unknown, existing data points to a local community crisis.
- The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, Inc. reported from the 2015 Point in Time (PIT) count that 4,609 people were found homeless in the Houston Metropolitan Area including Houston, Harris and Fort Bend Counties.
- The Youth Count 2.0 2015 report, conducted by The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work in collaboration with the University of Texas School of Nursing, counted a total of 513 unaccompanied minors and young adults, with 32 being 13-17 years old and 481 being 18-24 years old.
- For all schools and school districts in Houston, Harris County, and Fort Bend County, for the 2013-2014 school year, 23,309 students were registered as homeless, which includes those sheltered, unsheltered, literally homeless, and living doubled up and living in a hotel/motel.
- Covenant House Texas, the largest Harris County youth emergency shelter, served over 3,111 youth in 2014.
- Additionally, Covenant House Texas made 8,206 contacts with street youth under 21 years, during street outreach, in 2015
- The National Runaway Switchboard received 848 calls from Houston/Harris County area in 2014.Resources: