New tool tracks homeless youth patterns, helps direct programs

COLORADO SPRINGS Colo. (KKTV) - The annual homeless count for Colorado Springs will begin on Monday, but we're about to get a closer look at what is pushing the young people in our town to become homeless.

Urban Peak Executive Director Shawna Kemppainen has been using something called the Way Home America Youth Count Dashboard. It's an online, real-time data collection shared between nine cities in the U.S., all looking to understand the homeless youth in the country better so they can better help them.

"So every month now our community gets data that shows how many homeless youth we have done a housing survey with, when they are leaving homelessness, where they are going, what kind of resources they are using, and if a youth is experiencing homelessness, what's their situation?" Kemppainen said.

"Are they staying in a shelter, are they couch surfing, are they actually surviving outside?"

Kemppainen said knowing where and why a young person is homeless, and how that person is finding a place to stay helps groups like Urban Peak finetune their approach and create an efficient, effective program.

"We are communicating better than we ever have before as a community in the last year, and we know having the most and best data around ... is really going to help us move forward."