Count of homeless young people up in Baltimore

Researchers counted 640 homeless or unstably housed young people in Baltimore around the first of the year, according to a report released Wednesday.

In 2009, there were 426 young people between the ages of 13 and 25 who were living on their own without shelter, said Nan Marie Astone, one of the authors of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

To compile the count this year, 16 social services agencies in Baltimore were asked for the number of homeless youth who were either served on Jan. 25, 2011, or were on the caseload of the organization between December 2010 and January 2011, Astone said.

The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday. The increase in poverty, said Astone, leads to the premise that the number of homeless youth in Baltimore probably increased.

But this year's study requested information from more agencies and had a longer data collection window than in 2009, factors that could have increased the number of homeless youth counted, she said.

This year's study also found more than 1,000 children in Baltimore under the age of 14 who were homeless, Astone said, but they were not part of this report because children that young are most likely accompanied by a guardian.

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