The Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment (AYCNA) Final Report presents key findings on homeless, precariously housed, and runaway youth in the metro-Atlanta community. Young people aged 14-25 who did not have a permanent, stable residence and lived without familial support, completed an anonymous survey about their experiences, the factors that led to their homelessness, their personal and social backgrounds, health status, and any contact with social service systems.
The Report estimates there are approximately 3,374 homeless and runaway youth in a typical summer month in Atlanta – a significantly larger figure than most governmental and community homeless service providers estimate. Just over 28% of the homeless youth surveyed self-identified as LGBT, and many survey respondents reported significant life traumas, including exposure to neighborhood violence (78.4%), being robbed or having something stolen (60.5%), witnessing a parent going to jail or prison (50.7%), experiencing abuse as a child (42.4%), or involvement with the foster care (26.8%) or child welfare (19.2%) systems. Additionally, of these youth, self-reporting revealed that 88.5% had been tested for HIV, 75.3% were tested within the last six months, and 2.7% were living with HIV.
Perhaps most significantly, the Report found a need for a coordinated metro area-wide approach to addressing the needs of homeless youth, particularly those with significant drug and alcohol use, those involved in survival sex, and those who may be involved in sex trafficking.