Giving homeless teenagers a second chance and new home

The number of homeless people in the US is rapidly increasing and the most common among the new generation of vagabonds are teenagers. The rate of homelessness is directly proportional to domestic violence, and this simple piece of information is enough to look for ways to decrease the otherwise escalating numbers of homeless youth. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior applied under different circumstances to establish power and control over a person or group of people through instilling fear in them through intimidation. The end result is usually achieved through violence. This type of violence includes emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse.

Bonding with the vagabond

A large number of teenagers who live on the streets become homeless after escaping from physical/sexual abuse and other violent incidents happening inside their homes. The conditions are tougher for those teenagers who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning (LGBTQ). The good news is that somehow humans still believe in humanity and there are many official and unofficial initiatives that are working for rehabilitation of homeless teenagers. These volunteer organizations believe in giving a second chance to runaway youths and reintroduce them into mainstream society as productive individuals.

A stitch in time saves nine

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB): Established in Washington DC with a mission to rehabilitate teenagers who have experienced domestic violence. The bureau instills a sense of safety, stability and self-esteem among the homeless teens. FYSB is one of two bureaus functioning within the Administration for Children and Families (ACYF). This organization engages local communities through the Positive Youth Development (PYD) initiative to support homeless teenagers.

Safe Horizon: A pilot program in New York was initiated in 1975 to address the needs of criminal court witnesses who had either been intimidated or threatened to prevent them from testifying in court. Three years later, the program was upgraded to become Victim Services Agency. By 2000, the Victim Services Agency became Safe Horizon. Presently, it is considered one of the largest organizations that helps victims of crime and abuse in the US. Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project caters to the needs of homeless youth in New York City and provides them with a chance to reclaim their lives and dignity by holding counseling sessions and support group meetings to develop and polish the skills of these vagabonds.

Denver’s Road Home: Established by the Denver Commission to End Homelessness, the first phase was approved by Mayor Hickenlooper in May 2005 and then by the Denver City Council in September 2005. The initiative is working on a 10-year plan to end homelessness and has successfully entered its eighth year. The special focus of the commission is on helping homeless teens.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness: The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit organization working towards prevention of homelessness. By voicing their support for improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders, this initiative is considered as an important voice that supports the rights of unsheltered people.

In God we trust

Covenant House Florida: This provides shelter for homeless and runaway teens under the age of 21. Technically, this is a catholic organization; still it reaches out to people of all races, religion and genders.

The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions: Comprises of 300 rescue missions in the US and Canadian cities which offers food and shelter, youth and family services, prison outreach and rehab programs for the mentally ill, elderly, urban poor and off course street youth.

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