Terminal Tower shines green to support and spread awareness of Cleveland's homeless

(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Sleeping on the gym floor with her two young sons is how Janatalie Dunn has spent every night for nearly three months.

"They don't even care to ask about what happened or why we're here," she said.

Life hasn't been easy for the 19-year-old. She grew up in and out of foster homes.

Now that she's older, Dunn is out on her own.

"I've been dragged through the system all my life. I'm going to make sure my kids never get in the system. I'm never going to let anyone take my kids from me. I'm going to do everything I can to get a house for us. That's why I came to the shelter," Dunn said.

Dunn is one of hundreds of homeless and missing youths in Cuyahoga County.

"Many of them are trying to survive, so they're struggling with hunger, poverty, they're not feeling safe at home. They might be victims of some kind of sexual or physical abuse or neglect," said Bellefaire JCB Homeless and Missing Youth Program Manager Karen McHenry.

To raise awareness Tuesday, Bellefaire JCB lit the Terminal Tower green.

McHenry said they want homeless youth to know they're not alone.

"A lot of the little girls say they're not loved or cared for or they just don't have a strong sense of belonging and they turn to the streets to try to find that.

We know that's when it becomes really dangerous because they're going to fall into the hands of someone who doesn't truly care about them or love them," she said.

Right now, Cuyahoga County knows of 154 missing youths, but McHenry said only 25 percent of cases are reported. Which means, there are possibly more than 600 missing boys and girls in the county.

Although it's tough, Dunn said she's doing everything she can to build a better life for her and her two boys.

"It's going to be real nice, it's going to be real nice for us, Mike. We're going to have our own beds," she said to her 2-month-old son.

There is a 24-hour hotline dedicated to helping homeless and missing youth. The number to call is 216-570-8010.

To show your support for National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the campaign asks people to change their porch lights to green.

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