In the New York City area, homelessness has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression in recent years, with more than 60,000 individuals and families living without a permanent residence, including more than 20,000 children. Among those alarming statistics are a number, constantly in flux, of teenagers who have run away from or been kicked out of their homes and now find themselves living in unstable situations.
Each of these youth brings a different story. At home, they may have faced abuse, neglect, conflict, substance abuse, sexual abuse, foster care placement, or lack of acceptance for their sexual orientation or gender identification. Once they’ve left the home, youth enter a life of constant instability. Many live in shelters, cars, parks, vacant buildings, or on the streets. Some “couch surf” with friends as long as the generosity of their network will allow.
A New Beginning
But that doesn’t have to be case. Our Transitional Independent Living (TIL) program provides runaway and homeless youth, ages 16-21, with the home they need and deserve. Combining educational, therapeutic, and recreational supports in a supportive residence, we provide youth the stability and guidance so they can look toward to the future.
Once at our TIL, youth find a supportive and nurturing environment between peers and staff where we work with them to achieve stability. Each youth has her own room as well as space for recreation and relaxation. Our Case planners work with each youth to understand the root of their circumstances and identify their needs, as well as their goals for the future.
We set in place comprehensive supports and provide resources to ensure youth can achieve improved well-being, greater educational success, and strengthened relationships, including reconnecting with family when appropriate. We help youth acquire life skills needed for independent living; career skills that will sustain independent and productive lives; and education that will support career goals. With staff on hand 24 hours a day, our program establishes schedules and routines that teach responsibility and encourage good habits – all with the ultimate goal of achieving self-sufficiency.