CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Adults are often the face of homelessness, but people forget children and young adults aren't strangers to the issue.
"I was homeless last year in July," Dajhun Mack told WCNC Charlotte.
At 21-years-old, Mack found herself without a place to call home, but it wasn't just her who was homeless.
"I was couch surfing with my daughter, I had a six-month-old at the time," she said.
She knew things had to change.
"I actually experienced homelessness as a kid, but to experience it by myself where I actually have someone depending on me was really a wake-up call," Mack explained.
Every year, Mecklenburg County staff search for the homeless, to get a sense of how many people are living on the streets, in shelters, or in transitional housing. it’s called the point in time count.
This year they're focusing on counting the number of people between 18 and 25 years old, but finding them can be difficult.
"They stay away from the shelters actually, they will not be in the general camp areas if they are sleeping outside they sort of keep to themselves," Trish Hobson, executive director of The Relatives, said.
The Relatives, a resource center for children and youth, said that's why there's a push to get an accurate count of homeless youth.
The results will mean more federal funding for programs aimed at helping these young people.
"People just don't think an 18-year-old, 19 year old is going to be homeless because they think well they have parents or somebody to take care of them right, but the truth is the bulk of the kids we serve," Hobson said. "And we serve about 500 a year don't have that family support."
For Mack, she found that support here at The Relatives. She now has a place of her own.
"It's my own space, I just get to come home and really relax not worry about where I'm going to stay," she said.
She hopes other youth adults reach out for help.
If you or someone you know is combating homeless, call The Relative crisis hotline at 704) 377-0602.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.