How does a teenager end up living on the street? It could be too dangerous for them to stay at home, so they run away. Their family might be homeless and can no longer take care of them. Their parents may have kicked them out because of their sexual orientation.
Whatever the reason, Cascade Youth and Family Center meets homeless youth where they are—without judgement—and is the only nonprofit in Deschutes County that provides comprehensive services for runaway and homeless youth. CYFC opened in 1989 and is one of the many at-risk youth programs offered by J Bar J Youth Services.
If there is a crisis at home, families and kids can first call the center’s 24-hour hotline. Staff members provide crisis intervention, and emergency shelter is available to help kids stay off the street if they are in danger of running away. CYFC then provides mediation to help resolve conflict, strengthen relationships and keep the family together.
If kids do end up on the street, the center’s street outreach team lets them know about the LOFT—a group home on Bend’s west side where teens are welcome to a hot shower, a warm meal and access to services. The LOFT offers drop-in hours weekly for homeless youth in Central Oregon—no questions asked.
Teens can also move into the LOFT permanently for two years while they finish high school, are working or are looking for a job. It’s a stable home with a caring staff that helps kids get back on track.
When residents are ready to move out, they continue to be supported by their case manager as they transition to independent living.
Last year, CYFC provided emergency shelter for sixty-five homeless or runaway youth, 150 hours of family mediation, and the LOFT provided a home for forty-nine teens. Finally, 94 percent of the LOFT’s kids transitioned to a safe and stable living situation after the residency.
How you can help
Donate now. Go to cascadeyouthandfamilycenter.org for more information.
Follow CYFC on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll see the most pressing needs posted there.
Gift cards. The residents need everything from work boots to school supplies to winter coats.