Faculty Lead Effort to Count Homeless Youth in Atlanta

Faculty members at Georgia State University are leading Atlanta’s first comprehensive project to count and assess the number of homeless youth in Atlanta: the Atlanta Youth Count!

According to the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, nearly one-third of the U.S. homeless population is children and youth. This number has increased significantly in Georgia due to sex trafficking, child welfare systems and the growing number of youth abandoned because of their sexuality.

This summer, the Atlanta Youth Count! team, which consists of Georgia State students and faculty as well as local organizations and service providers, will not only count the number of homeless youth in the state but also examine the state of youth homelessness.

“Our ultimate goal is to change policy around homeless youth in the city of Atlanta, specifically the metropolitan Atlanta area,” said Atlanta Youth Count! co-director and sociology Professor Eric Wright.

Wright is leading the project alongside sociology Associate Professor Erin Ruel. Ruel believes that the project benefits both the community and Georgia State. The sole focus of the project is the community, and Georgia State is the community, she said.

“One of our visions is to follow in W.E.B. Dubois’ footsteps and keep Atlanta the laboratory and Georgia State is the perfect entity to take on his mission,” she said. “Our students not only get to see sociology at work but they also learn how to do good, solid research. I hope this encourages them to want to do more.”

The Atlanta Youth Count! team plans to have their field work completed by July 29. A final report of the team’s findings will be released November 2015.

To learn more about Atlanta Youth Count!, please contact Eric Wright or Erin Ruel.