Young people in crisis often don’t know where to turn. For some, the streets seem a better option than the instability or violence of home, or the bullying they endure at school. But the streets are not safe. A young person with nowhere to go is a target for predators. Runaways are more likely to drop out of high school and to live in poverty. YouthCare works to get young people off the streets and out of homelessness; a new partnership allows us to reach youth before they fall into homelessness.
Safe Place is a program that quickly connects youth in crisis to help, through a network of local businesses designated as “Safe Places.” These resources help runaways resolve their crises and remain in a stable environment, safe from predators and with appropriate help.
The program in King County is run by YouthCare, Auburn Youth Resources, and Friends of Youth in partnership with local businesses and non-profit organizations that have volunteered to be “Safe Places.” Our current Safe Place Partners are: King County Metro Transit, King County Library System, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Compass Housing Alliance (Renton and Shoreline locations). A young person need only ask for help at any of these locations (or ask for help from any Metro bus driver), and within 45 minutes a Safe Place Coordinator will arrive to provide assistance. Alternatively, a teen in crisis can call or text the Safe Place program directly to find the nearest Safe Place site or access immediate support.
If you need help (ages 12-17):
If you need a place to stay, you can go to any Safe Place site and say "I need a safe place." The staff will arrange for you to be met by a youth counselor who can help you find shelter or other services. Or, text the word "SAFE" to 69866 and you'll receive a text back with the closest Safe Place. If you need to talk to someone right away, reply with “2chat” and you’ll be able to text with a counselor. You can also call Safe Place directly at 1 (800) 422-TEEN.
YouthCare also offers shelter and housing options for youth ages 12-24, as well as education, job training, case management, and more. Click here to learn more about our shelter, housing, employment, and education programs for young people.
Become a Safe Place:
Your business can help keep our community’s children safe by opening its doors as a Safe Place site, where young people know they can ask for help and wait for that help to arrive. As a Safe Place site, you will receive free training and support, and join the nearly 18,000 businesses and communities nationwide serving as Safe Places.
For more information, contact YouthCare's Safe Place Coordinator at (206) 204-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer with Safe Place:
We are looking for volunteers to assist the Safe Place Coordinator when responding to calls from youth who have run away and are seeking a safe place to sleep. The volunteer is expected to provide a supportive presence for the youth, while promoting safety within the Safe Place program through a two-person response to calls. Learn more by reading the volunteer position description, then take the first step by signing up for our upcoming Volunteer Information Session.