Huckleberry House’s response to the 2024 Point in Time Count

This statement is in response to the results related to youth homelessness reported in the most recent Point-in-Time Results on Homelessness, and released by the Community Shelter Board on April 30. As the key stakeholder in addressing and ending youth homelessness in central Ohio, we want to provide accurate and timely information about the state of youth homelessness in our community.

  • The use of the word youth is complicated. For the Youth System administered by the Community Shelter Board, youth is defined as 18-24 years of age. In the Point in Time Count Report, it is also used to describe unaccompanied minors.
  • Unaccompanied minors in central Ohio are not served by or funded through the Community Shelter Board’s Homelessness Response System. Minors in the state of Ohio are cared for by the child welfare system, of which Huckleberry House is a service provider.


The report includes the statement, “Youth homelessness is decreasing . . . indicating positive strides in addressing youth homelessness.”

Huckleberry House is proud of the work it does to ensure unaccompanied minors are safe and stably housed, but the above statement is not factual, and fails to fully encompass the reality faced by the youth we serve every day. While it is well-meaning to provide a snapshot to the community on the status of homelessness, this misleading statistic could be potentially harmful to the work we carry out in the community, and, is damaging to the community’s understanding of the full extent to which our youth are facing crisis and experiencing homelessness.

To provide more context to the status of how this data sits at odds with what we are experiencing:

  • As we are often reminded, the Point in Time (PIT) Count is a snapshot in time. While four minors were staying in Huckleberry House’s teen shelter on January 25, 2024, our nightly counts have ranged from 2 to 16 since the beginning of 2024. Our data through the end of February indicates a 52% increase in shelter utilization this fiscal year (Jul – Jun) over last fiscal year.
  • Since our shelter opened in 1970, we have served an average of 500 12-17 year olds each year. Our data does not indicate that number will be lower this year than last.
  • One of the most widely recognized challenges in serving unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness is that they remain invisible deliberately. They do not want to be noticed and often refuse services because it could mean being returned to an unsafe situation they have left. Unsheltered unaccompanied minors are, by either definition, the hardest demographic to count.
  • Huckleberry House is currently experiencing an increase in unaccompanied minors staying in our shelter while their parents stay in adult shelters, uninhabitable locations such as a car, or with family/friends who will welcome parents but not the family’s teen-aged children.


In addition to providing misleading information about youth experiencing homelessness, this report also threatens important streams of funding for Huckleberry House, and specifically the Teen Crisis Shelter, which relies on a variety of financial sources. The Teen Crisis Shelter is the only shelter in central Ohio for 12-17 year olds who are in crisis, and our community relies on its services to ensure no teenager has to sleep outside and be vulnerable to trafficking, violence, and other unimaginable outcomes.

To read the full Point in Time Count report, click here.

Subscribe to The Huck House Journal and stay informed.

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Items we need:

Clothing and Personal Items

  • Underwear
  • Sweatpants (Youth M – Adult XXL)
  • Sweatshirts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
  • Shorts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
  • T-shirts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
  • Socks
  • Wallets
  • Earbuds

          Please note that we are unable to accept any used clothing items.

General Supplies

  • Composition notebooks/journals
  • Adult coloring books
  • Colored pencils
  • Art supplies
  • “Smell goods” (i.e. Bath & Body Works)

Toiletries and Hygiene Products

  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner*
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Body soap*
  • Tootbrushes and toothpaste*
  • Brushes and combs
  • Ethnic hair care products

    The * denotes that the item must be in a full size bottle.

Misellaneous Items

  • Baby items
  • Pillows
  • Solid color twin comforters and sheet sets
  • Kitchen utensils, general cleaning and laundry supplies, picture frames
  • Non-perishable food items for youth outreach (crackers, cup of soup, fruit snacks, chips)
  • Gift cards from $5 to $25 for fast food restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations
Skip to content