Capital City Youth Services (CCYS) has received a federal grant to support and expand programming for homeless, runaway, at-risk youth. CCYS has operated a local program for the past four years, called Going Places Street Outreach, that strives to identify and serve youth who are in crisis, living on the streets, or may be at-risk of homelessness. Advocates from the program visit homeless camps, schools, and youth hot-spots to try to identify any youth who may be in need of services or emergency care. Once identified, advocates work with the youth to exit the street into safe housing or they invite the youth to engage with further services at the Going Places Drop-In Center, located in Railroad Square Art Park.
The Drop-In Center provides youth with a food bank, clothing bank, washer & dryer, restroom and shower, and a safe place to get help and make a plan for success. That plan is specific for each youth and what they aim to accomplish. For some youth, that may mean finding a job or finishing their GED. For another youth, securing food and shelter for the next week may be their first priority before they can begin to think about school or a job. No matter the needs of the youth, CCYS aims to help youth transition to independence and self-sufficiency.
The federal funding designation from Health & Human Services will allow the program to grow, adding jobs and providing a better continuum of care to the youth that come in contact with the Street Outreach Program. CCYS CEO-President, Kevin Priest, said “We are excited to receive this federal award because it means that we can provide services to more youth in Tallahassee and the Big Bend.” He added, “There is a real gap in care for at-risk youth ages 16-21, and this grant will allow us to hopefully catch some of these kids that are falling through the cracks.” By providing services like case management, referral services, and basic needs, CCYS aims to prevent homeless youth from committing suicide, engaging in survival sex, substance abuse, and becoming victims of human trafficking.
CCYS is hosting their annual Sleep Out event on November 3, 2016. The Sleep Out challenges community leaders to put themselves in the shoes of a homeless youth by giving up the comforts of home for one night to sleep outside. CCYS is also hosting a Community Dinner & Discussion that night for individuals interested in learning more about youth homelessness. Commissioner Kristin Dozier will serve as the Honorary Chair and emcee for the event.
Visit www.sleepout2016.causevox.com for event details. Capital City Youth Services offers emergency shelter, counseling, transitional living, and street outreach services to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth in the Big Bend. All services are free and confidential. Call CCYS’ 24 Hour Hotline to inquire about services, 850-576-6000 or visit www.ccys.org for more information about services and programs