Youth Homelessness | By: Kyra Crockett

Imagine being somewhere (like school, work, community center or a library) and not knowing where you are going next when it is time for those doors to close. Imagine riding the COTA bus for hours just to use up some of your idle time. Imagine having no consistent support system to lean on when things are scary, unsafe or unknown. Maybe today a friend’s parents fell asleep early so you could sneak in their basement for a while. Two nights ago you were sleeping in a tent campsite along the railroad tracks. The night before that, you were in the Grant Hospital ER hoping to blend in so you can sleep. Night to night, the scene changes with only one consistency — nowhere to call home.

Unfortunately, hundreds of homeless youth experience homelessness right here in Columbus, Ohio. Families who are exactly like people you know experience situations that push them into crisis for a period of time. Some families can work through it and eventually move on from it. Other families struggle to the point of a teen running away, parents kicking kids out or parents leaving their children behind when they move on. Homelessness is something no one should have to experience, let alone a youth.

Although there are many facets that play into the WHY, our efforts need to address PREVENTING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. For those that are already there, how do we ensure their safety and rebuild their spirits?

Whether we blame the lack of housing options for young people or we blame the kids for being disrespectful or we point our fingers at the parents for not caring enough…it doesn’t change the fact that this goes on daily. The costs to our community, our families and our children are too great to ignore.

Talk to the kids in your lives! Make sure they have someone in their life (even if it’s not you) that they feel comfortable talking to about tough topics. And, as parents IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP AS WELL! None of us are perfect, so let’s stop acting as so!

-Kyra Crockett, Youth Outreach Program Manager

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  • Locations

    Main Campus
    1421 Hamlet Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43201
    Adminstration Phone: (614) 294-8097
    Fax: (614) 294-6109

    Housing Program Office
    1720 Kenmore Road
    Columbus, OH 43219

    Marsh Brook Place
    5981 Chatterton Road
    Columbus, OH 43232

    YOP Shop
    2216 Bancroft St.
    Columbus, OH 43219

    Direct Contribution

    Donate Goods and Supplies

    Items we need:

    Clothing and Personal Items

    • Underwear
    • Sweatpants (Youth M – Adult XXL)
    • Sweatshirts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
    • Shorts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
    • T-shirts (Youth M – Adult XXL)
    • Socks
    • Wallets
    • Earbuds

              Please note that we are unable to accept any used clothing items.

    General Supplies

    • Composition notebooks/journals
    • Adult coloring books
    • Colored pencils
    • Art supplies
    • “Smell goods” (i.e. Bath & Body Works)

    Toiletries and Hygiene Products

    • Deodorant
    • Shampoo and conditioner*
    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Body soap*
    • Tootbrushes and toothpaste*
    • Brushes and combs
    • Ethnic hair care products

      The * denotes that the item must be in a full size bottle.

    Misellaneous Items

    • Baby items
    • Pillows
    • Solid color twin comforters and sheet sets
    • Kitchen utensils, general cleaning and laundry supplies, picture frames
    • Non-perishable food items for youth outreach (crackers, cup of soup, fruit snacks, chips)
    • Gift cards from $5 to $25 for fast food restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations
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