Monday, July 27, 2009

Homeless Teens...

Did you know?

Did you know that one of the fastest growing homeless populations in the DFW Metroplex is teenagers? This can be frightening, since youth are our future.

It is estimated that 1.6 million youth between the ages of 12 -17 experience homelessness in a given year. In Dallas County, it is estimated that nearly 6,000 teens in Dallas County will runaway from home this year.

On any given night, 1,000 teens in Dallas County will sleep on the street.

Floyd Graham, assistant shelter director at The Salvation Army Casa Youth Emergency Shelter, says there many reasons why youth run away. “Overall, there is a need that is not being met for the teenagers. Teens want to feel loved and accepted,” Graham said. “When teens don’t receive that in the home, they often choose to run away.”

Here are several other reasons why teens become homeless:

Violence in the home
Lack of nurture and support from family members
Abuse and neglect

Boys or Girls?

People often wonder which gender is more likely to end up on the street? Graham says that while girls often fall into prostitution or sex trafficking, boys will become involved in gangs.
The Casa Emergency Shelter does not see a specific increase in either boys or girls coming to Casa.

Want to know more about CASA?

Casa provides a safe 19-bed shelter where runaways and troubled youth can stay temporarily. Boys and girls ages 10- 17 experience daily living in a household setting with assigned responsibilities and duties.

Graham says the shelter offers the most basic needs immediately to a runaway or troubled teenager: food, shelter, and clothing. From there, the youth is surrounded by loving and encouraging staff.

The Casa staff works to provide holistic case management, individual, group and family therapy, teach life skills and offers education classes at Casa's onsite school. The overall goal of the shelter is to work in partnership with the teen and teen’s parent(s) or guardian(s) to facilitate and mend broken relationships, so that the teen can return home.

What can you do if you know a teen who is struggling?

If you know a teenager who is considering running away, please call the Casa Emergency Shelter at 214-358-4505 or the Contact Crisis Line at 972-233- TEEN

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