Who We Serve
Each year, My Friend’s Place welcomes nearly 1,700 homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 25 and their children. Many are escaping abusive homes, emancipating from foster care with insufficient skills and resources, or were raised on the street caught in the cycle of homelessness.
Once on the streets, the necessities of survival and need to cope force youth to compromise their health and well being through high-risk behaviors including survival sex, substance abuse, illegal activity and violence. In turn, they are at great risk of contracting life-threatening diseases, developing drug and alcohol addictions, and engaging in disruptive behavior that increases the likelihood of juvenile detention and incarceration. The resulting feelings of worthlessness compound the psychological and emotional scars resulting from years of abuse and neglect. Additionally, the dangerous existence these youth face induces and aggravates mental healthy symptoms including depression, psychosis, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
In addition to the material advantages they lack, our youth have insufficient or no family structure. They profoundly lack the emotional support to deal with the stresses of adolescence, and have often not had healthy life strategies modeled during their most formative years. These crippling effects severely compromise the health and well being of homeless youth and jeopardize their efforts to reconnect with society and succeed at a job or in school. Without appropriate and compassionate intervention, the youth we serve are at risk of entering into an irreversible cycle of chronic homelessness, total dependence on welfare, and permanent aversion to society.