Authored by: Mina Koplin, Milestone Transitional Living Program Manager
The Milestone team had the opportunity to participate in the Point-in-Time count done a little bit different than last year. Point-in-Time is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons for purposes of data collection, tracking, and service improvement. The Milestone team met at the VOA Youth Resource Center, Downtown Salt Lake City on January 25th to conduct short surveys of all the youth that entered the shelter that evening.
The Milestone team had a brief training put on by VOA staff, then everyone received a stack of surveys and a clipboard to begin the first ever Youth Point in Time Count. Everyone split up and began meeting young adults and asking if they would be interested in answering a brief questionnaire, and for their time we would give them a $5.00 McDonald’s gift card. Most young adults were eager to participate, and excited to go get some delicious fast food. After several hours, once every young adult was surveyed, or given the opportunity to take the survey, Milestone staff assisted VOA staff in serving dinner for all the young adults. Each young adult that passed through the food line said “thank you” at least and many engaged in conversation, and shared thoughts or stories about their lives.
This event was an incredible opportunity to learn about the experiences of the homeless Youth in Salt Lake City. Many great stories were shared and there was a great deal of positivity and hope radiating from the youth. This opportunity gave the Milestone team a chance to reconnect with each other, and with community partners such as the staff at the VOA YRC. The Milestone team appreciated seeing “a night in the life” at the VOA YRC, and meeting some remarkable young adults. By the end of the count, the surveyed number of young adults was over one hundred which we all felt was a great success, especially considering this was the first year.