HOMELESSNESS & SEX TRAFFICKING
OF OUR YOUTH ARE RIGHT HERE IN OUR BACKYARD!
For 30+ years Safe House, the only registered shelter for youth in Schenectady County, has provided services to our homeless and exploited youth.
Safe Inc. 2021 Keep Safe Campaign
What I really want the Capital District to know is that homeless and sexually exploited youth are here in our community. We don’t hear a lot about this, and it was, even for me, astonishing to learn of the crises and great needs for far too many of our youth who are at risk of being homeless, already homeless and/or forced into prostitution. Pardon me for not being politically correct, but I want to be clear, so no one misses the issue. The term “sexually exploited” means youth as young as 14-18, girls and boys are forced/cajoled into prostitution.
We know at Safe that once a youth is on the street, couch surfing, running away, he or she is vulnerable immediately to all sorts of predators. The NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services reports that 23.8% of the youth in Schenectady were reported missing in 2017, which is more than five times the New York State average of 4.1%. Schenectady’s situation ranked it above the National and State level regarding missing and homeless youth, demonstrating an immediate and significant need for services targeting youth. Where are these young people?
Just within the last year, Safe Inc. of Schenectady provided beds, meals, clothing, counseling and advocacy for 106+ youth and 3 infant/toddlers with a parent. Had we more funding, we could have served twice that number. Think about this: we have served more than 6,500 youth and young adults since our founding more than 30 years ago. We are working diligently to address homelessness, sexual exploitation, substance abuse, and poverty among youth in our community; however, the needs of homeless and runaway youth in Schenectady continue to grow. We provide services to youth from not only Schenectady, but from throughout the Cap Dis.
The Board of Directors has launched this KEEP SAFE campaign to make the public aware of our shelter and the services. Safe is open. We have beds. Call our hotline [(518) 374-5178] if you have a need for a safe place and a home-like atmosphere.
We desperately want to improve and increase our services, and that is another reason for this campaign. Please give to KEEP SAFE and help us rescue our youth and steer them to realizing different life-changing choices and possibilities where they can grow into healthy, self-sufficient adults.
Nettie Crossman, President of the Safe Board of Directors