Figuring Out What Homeless Youth Need

Millennia Consulting was engaged by Center on Halsted and Heartland Human Care Services to conduct a needs assessment for a proposed Youth Campus that would serve homeless and unstably housed LGBTQ youth and others aged 18-24. The proposal for a Youth Campus comes as a response to growing demand by and a deeper understanding of the magnitude of the issues confronting many young people: homelessness, income instability, educational needs, life skills, mental health and substance abuse counseling, physical activities, day care and more.

For the project, Millennia's team of Marcia Lipetz, Brenda Bannor, and Wendy Siegel conducted focus groups with youth and with case managers/front line workers, as well as individual interviews with agency executive directors and political leaders in an effort to understand current and future trends and best practices in service delivery for this population.

The needs assessment coincided with other activities related to LGBTQ homeless and unstably housed youth. The City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, a collaborating partner in the Youth Campus, conducts an annual Youth Count of homeless and
unstably housed youth. Consultants reviewed this data and observed the LGBTQ Homeless Youth Summit. Findings were analyzed in a report to our clients which was was accepted by the Center on Halsted's Board of Directors.

As a result of Millennia's work, planning for the project is moving forward but its direction has shifted. Additional community partners are being engaged and more focus is being placed on development a service delivery center for this population in a centralized location.