Imagine being told by your family that you have to leave home – that they can’t afford to take care of you anymore. Or running away because the streets seem safer than the abuse. Or being kicked out for being LGBTQ. Maybe your parents went to jail and there’s no one to take care of you. You are completely alone in the world.
These are some of the real-life experiences of the hundreds of teens who take advantage of the National Safe Place Program every year. “Safe Places” are venues where young people can show up to access emergency housing if they can’t go home for whatever reason. Businesses like gas stations, banks, libraries, retail venues, restaurants, and non-profits can all register as Safe Places. We are so grateful for our community partners who have stepped up to this service and we are actively recruiting new partners.
What does it look like?
When a teen stops at your business or non-profit, as a community Safe Place, your staff will have been trained to make the teen feel welcome, and then call Our Family Services’ Reunion House, the only shelter for runaway and homeless teenagers in Southern Arizona. Our team will show up within 30 minutes. Last year, Reunion House provided a temporary home to over 250 teens in crisis.
QuikTrip gas stations, comprise about two thirds of the Safe Place locations scattered across Tucson – and these are particularly helpful as they are open 24-hours. But 9-5 non-profit and business partners are just as important – as places with which youth may already be acquainted and familiar in their daily lives. We are grateful to our newest Safe Place partner, Aviva Children’s Services, who signed up earlier this year.
Could your business be a good fit? Please consider joining the ranks of this important service – call (520) 320-5122 for more information about how to get involved.