On any given night in Greater Kansas City there are 2,000 "unattached" teens living on the streets, sleeping in cars, or "couch surfing" with friends because they do not have a safe place to live. Many are abused and neglected kids who have run away from home or been thrown out by their family. In fact, a
national study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services'
Administration for Children and Families showed that 51% of youth become homeless for the first time because they were asked to leave by a caregiver.
The Safe Place program, operated locally by Synergy, partners with businesses and community organizations to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Safe Place locations throughout the metro include QuikTrip, branches of the Kansas City, MO and Mid-Continent Public Library, metro buses, fire stations and YMCA facilities. Each site displays the Safe Place sign, and staff members are trained to call Synergy when a young person communicates they don't have a safe place to stay. Synergy then dispatches a staff member to the site to provide crises intervention and transportation to shelter if needed.
"Last year, almost 300 young people found safety and support through our local Safe Place sites," said Cynthia Hoffman, Youth Street Outreach Program Manager and Safe Place Coordinator. "We are so grateful to our community partners as they provide a friendly face in time of crises and help connect the youth with the resources they need."