Northeast Ohio street outreach helping homeless teens during coronavirus crisis

Northeast Ohio street outreach helping homeless teens during coronavirus crisis

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There are nearly 800 missing children in Ohio, and a local program is here to help with their street outreach event amid the coronavirus crisis.

That organization is Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau in Cleveland, which has a Homeless and Missing Youth Program that 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.

The program currently serves annually about 4,000 teens, family, and community members through the following initiatives:

  • 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
  • Street Outreach services for youth who are already homeless and intervention for those at risk

Despite the coronavirus crisis, Bellefaire emphasizes that they are still open to help, and the 24/7 Homeless and Missing Youth Hotline can be reached at (216) 570-8010.

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