Youth Homelessness

Youth Homelessness

A National Safe Place partner, our program serves approximately 4,000 teens, families and community members in Cuyahoga County yearly through street outreach, respite care, community outreach and education, and a 24-hour hotline.

We're A Safe Place 24/7.

Bellefaire JCB’s Homeless and Missing Youth Program was initiated in October 2006 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program for homeless, missing, and runaway youth who are in need of crisis intervention, possible respite and case management. Today, the program serves approximately 4,000 teens, families and community members each year through initiatives including those listed below.

  • On-call emergency staff available 24/7 who respond either by phone or in person to a youth’s need for crisis intervention because of homelessness, the threat of taking off or runaway behaviors.
  • Triage services through schools, police departments, peers helping peers, community partners (particularly the LGBT Center of Cleveland) and street contacts.
  • Assistance with personal care, food, clothing and other individualized needs, including safe-sex kits and hygiene kits.
  • Ongoing counseling services for families and youth that target behaviors and situations that may cause youth to leave home.
  • Case management to help secure appropriate basic living services, including health insurance, and to coordinate family-based treatment and community-based wraparound services that are individualized for each client.
  • Linkage and referral to community-based programs that are culturally competent and neighborhood-based to help teens and families succeed.
  • Coordination of alternative living arrangements through safe and supportive foster homes, as well as Bellefaire's Transitional Living Program, which provides housing, therapeutic supports and life skills for individuals 16-18.

24/7 Homeless and Missing Youth Hotline: 216-570-8010

Teens in Need

Physical abuse. Sexual orientation. Neglect. There are many reasons why you may feel like you need to leave home or have already done so. You may feel sad, ashamed or anxious about your family's stress. Perhaps you don't think anyone understands how you feel or you need to make a connection with something or someone who can make you feel better about yourself.

24/7 Hotline I 216-570-8010

We can help. Members of our Homeless and Missing Youth Program are available 24/7 at 216-570-8010 to talk to you and help you find a temporary safe place to stay. We know that sometimes in order to survive on the street you might feel like turning to drugs or survival sex is your only option. Our goal is to keep you safe and help you get the support you need.

 

"I'm Too Afraid To Go Home." Fact: More than 46 percent of homeless youth have been physically abused by a caretaker.

For Parents

Are they dating or is he afraid to go home

Do you know the real story about the teens hanging out at your house? You can be a trusted adult. Have the conversation.

Many homeless teens escape a home where they suffer physical abuse or are rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation. Young people who leave home often find themselves scared, confused, lonely, hungry, and cash-strapped. As a result, they easily fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse or dealing, physical and sexual abuse, violence, and/or suicide. Runaway and homeless youth are particularly at-risk for engaging in survival sex. One in three youth who have been gone from home for two weeks or longer are at serious risk of being trafficked for sex.

How to Keep Your Teen Safer

One of the most important things you can do to protect your child is to create an environment in which he or she feels comfortable talking with you. Open communication is key.

  • Ask about friends and classmates.
  • Know where they go when they leave the house.
  • Show your teen’s friends that you are a trusted adult and can help if needed.
  • Be aware of the early warning signs that your teen or his/her friend might be in the grooming phase of sexual trafficking.

Suspect or Know A Teen In Trouble?

We can help you unfold the truth and provide support and options for the teen. Call the Homeless and Missing Youth 24/7 Hotline at 216-570-8010 in Cuyahoga County. On-call emergency staff will respond either by phone or in person to a youth’s need for crisis intervention due to homelessness, the threat of taking off or runaway behaviors. First Call for Help 211 helps find shelter and community resources throughout Ohio.

 

Safe Place Partner

The Safe Place program in Cleveland is a partnership among Bellefaire JCB's Homeless and Missing Youth Program, Cleveland Public Libraries, the Greater Cleveland RTA and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Next Step/Westhaven.

Under this program, a child or teen can board any Greater Cleveland RTA bus or rapid train and tell the driver that he or she needs help. Drivers are trained to call Bellefaire JCB’s Homeless Youth Program or Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Next Step/Westhaven depending on the geographical location of the bus or train.

Placards on buses and other community sites, including Cleveland Metropolitan School District, provide students with further information about the program and how to access.

About National Safe Place

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that educates thousands of young people every year about the dangers of running away or trying to resolve difficult, threatening situations on their own. This easily-replicated initiative involves the whole community to provide safe havens and resources for youth in crisis. Safe Place creates a network of Safe Place locations — schools, fire stations, libraries, grocery and convenience stores, public transit, YMCAs and other appropriate public buildings – that display the  yellow and black diamond-shaped Safe Place sign. These locations extend the doors of the  youth service agency or emergency shelter throughout the community. Youth can easily access immediate help wherever they are.

How You Can Help

You can help by donating hygiene and survival kits that are given to youth as they enter our program. Call us at 216-320-6845 for information or to make arrangements for a drop-off.

Make a Financial Donation

Hygiene Kits

Travel sized items should be placed in plastic sealable bags.

  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Lotion
  • Wet wipes
  • Bandages
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Tampons
  • Brush/comb
  • Gum and chapstick

Survival Kits

Place in plastic sealable bag and include a note with words of support for a homeless youth.

  • Water/juice box
  • Granola bar/peanut butter crackers
  • Raisins/fruit snacks
  • Travel size first aid kit
  • Socks
  • Rain poncho
  • Paper, pen and envelope

Optional Items

  • $10/20 gift cards for fast food & grocery stores
  • Daily or 5-ride RTA bus passes
  • Fleece blankets/pillowcases
  • Play Dough, playing cards, crossword puzzles

Resources

Sex Trafficking Warning Signs for Minors

Youth from every socioeconomic background are at risk for sexual exploitation. Knowing the red flags and indicators...

Homeless Youth Local Resources

Bellefaire JCB is a National Safe Place partner and through our Homeless and Missing Youth program has a 24/7...