What happens to a 1 7-year-old who has run away from or been thrown out of the family home? Few agencies offer housing, and traditional social services, such as foster care, typically don't take applicants over 16. Where can these kids sleep? The Youth Housing Coalition (YHC) was created in Ann Arbor in January 1 988 to respond to the need tor temporary shelter for 1 and 18-year-okJs who are homeless. YHC members share their homes to ensure that homeless youths have a safe place to sleep. In its first year of service, YHC provided approximately 1 10 youths with over 550 nights of shelter. YHC works closely with Ozone House, the only crisis agency in the county designed to serve teens. When a youth needs emergency shelter, an Ozone House counselor screens him or her and, when appropriate, makes a referral to YHC. Before YHC acct pts a youth, she is required to sign a housing contract which promises that she will abide by the mies of any house in which she stays. Each night a YHC coördinator finds out who needs housing and phones other YHC members to secure placements YHC may always refuse the referral if members don't feel comfortable housing a particular youth. Each youth is required to find a job within two weeks of the start of their YHC stay, and a place to live within four. During their stay with YHC, youths are sheltered at different homes from night to night, so they do not become overly dependent on any one member. We want our membership to be as diverse as possible, so we can better meet the needs of our dients. For example, several houses are designated "women only" houses where young women who are reluctant to sleep in the same home as adult males, because of a history of sexual abuse or other problems, can be sheltered in a safe environment. Right now we are recruiting more people of color for our volunteer lists. All prospectivo volunteers and their homes are screened by current YHC members to ensure that clients will find them comfortable and secure. The Youth Housing Coalition is currently seeking a Volunteer Coördinator. The Coördinator position carnes a monthly stipend of $150. Duties include maintaimng contact witti the Ozone House liaison and YHC volunteers; recruitment and general community outreach; and oversight of fundraising and newsletter production. The expected time commitment is 10-12 hours per week. For more Information, please cali Susan at 996-0458 or Gloria at 662-2199. Leaving home and living independently is not easy. YHC makes the transition a tittte smoother by allowing kids to pursue their goals without the constant fear of being without a place to sleep at night. Winter is coming; please join us now! Youth Housing Coalition, P.O. Box 3194, Ann Arbor, Ml 481063194, 996-0458.
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