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As New York City counts the number of homeless people in its 5 boroughs, 3,000 volunteers will fan out across the city. However, they will not be able to account for all of the young people who are homeless or at risk. Oftentimes young people are sleeping on a friend’s bed, but if that option is closed off, there often aren’t enough shelters for them and they are at high risk for exploitation.
Why this matters for church leaders:
Churches remain an important piece of the puzzle in caring for those who are homeless.
- Do you have a policy in place for the homeless? Consult a local social worker or homeless advocacy group in order to develop clear policies to ensure your staff can take appropriate action to help those who are homeless who may visit your church.
- Can you spot at-risk youth? The new challenge of homelessness is that homeless youth can often escape our notice. They may be living with a friend for a temporary time. Take careful note of teens who don’t have stable home lives.
- Do you know who to call? If you do encounter a teen who is at risk or in danger of running away, do you have good relationships with the police and other community leaders? This is a good opportunity to organize a meet up at your church to discuss these issues with all of the key players in your area.
How can your church be prepared to care for at-risk teens in your community?
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