Kids and Life on Tri-State Streets

By Dan Wells – email/bio

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – As more families face economic hardships, experts here in the Tri-State have seen an increasing number of children leave home for life on the streets.

"I have to say we are around one thousand kids already this year so we will already reach what we had in terms of run away and homeless youth last year" says Geoffrey Hollenbach of Lighthouse Youth Services

That's where Lighthouse Youth Services steps-in,  the youth crisis center is the only facility in the Cincinnati area where unaccompanied kids, ages ten to seventeen can seek shelter and safety.

"We're seeing more kids coming here because the families are seemingly not able to afford to have the kids in the home"

Now situations that cause youth homelessness vary but the growing need for help is real and visible.

FOX 19 NEWS sat down with two young homeless girls (who didn't want to be identified) about the harsh reality of life without a roof over their heads.

Reporter: what do you think about being here?

"I think it's ok to be here because it's good when you don't have a place to go, when you need help."

"I think the lighthouse is a good place to be when you are going through a lot of stress and going through a lot at home."

Reporter: if you weren't here what would your life be like otherwise?

"It would be bad, bad because I would be on the streets I wouldn't be doing anything."

Reporter: is this a hard transition for you or did these people make it feel like it's a home away from home?

"The people made me feel real good, like real homey and cozy, they made me feel like I had friends that cared about me.

Reporter: you're a fourteen year old girl? Yes.

Reporter: have you ever been here before and have you ever gone through something like this before where it's required you to come to a program like this?

"I have not come here before this is my first time, I have run away before but just not come here."

Now kids typically stay at Lighthouse Youth Services for about six days most if not all go to regular schools while their individual situation is worked out with social workers.

Now every situation varies about what happens after that six day stay, some kids are reunited with their families, others may find themselves in foster homes, and others may return to the streets.

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