Our local Association for Children and Families was founded as a safe and healing place for young people to turn to after running away from abusive homes and other dangerous situations. We are open to youth between the ages of 16 and 20 and offer shelter 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are welcome to all youth and families in needs regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. While the people we serve in our programs are diverse, we tend to find they have similarities that our programming addresses:
- Lacking Basic Needs: People who are homeless are missing necessities found on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs that are needed to survive and thrive. We offer the youth in our programs the things that they lack including shelter, food, clothing, and medical care. Students who are hungry, homeless, and lost are more likely to develop chronic health issues, repeat grades in school, drop out, and require special education services.
- Barriers to Education: Because the youth in our shelter have lived transient lives, they haven't been able to attend school on a regular basis. Data shows that homeless youth are one to two years behind in school. They are also twice as likely to be expelled, suspended, or drop-outs.
- Presence of Mental Health Issues: Homeless youth are three times more likely to have mental health disorders and behavioral disorders. Unsupervised homeless youth are much more likely to attempt suicidal and self-harming behaviors.
- Living with Abuse and Family Dysfunction: Many of our clients are homeless because they have run away from abuse or been driven out of the home by dysfunctional family dynamics. The conflicts are caused by diverse circumstances but may often include teen pregnancy, sexual orientation, and tensions between youth and new step-parents.