PHOENIX, AZ – (March 21,2016) With the opening of the Northwest Extension on March 19, Valley Metro designated three new light rail stations as safe places for teenagers that are homeless, have left their homes because of abuse or neglect or have been forced to leave by their parents.
“Every person, especially our youth, has a right to feel safe,” said Scott Smith, Valley Metro Interim CEO. “Incorporating Safe Place into our communities served by Valley Metro Rail aligns perfectly with our strategy and focus on safety.”
The extension of Safe Place to three new light rail stations, for a total of 35, coincides with National Safe Place week, which is an effort to raise awareness about issues that affect youth.
“Hundreds of young people are living on the streets of Maricopa County on any given day,” said Cynthia Schuler, CEO of Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. “When a young person decides their best option is to try to survive on the street, they often find themselves overwhelmed and alone. Safe Place is a refuge and a life-saver.”
Valley Metro’s partnership with Tumbleweed and Safe Place began in 2013. Teens seeking shelter and safety can get help at any light rail station 24-hours a day.
“Safe Place opened a door for me when I was homeless,” said Jessica Rollins, Tumbleweed client. “I had seen the yellow Safe Place sign on a light rail station where I remember sitting late at night with my head down, wondering if I could ever turn my life around. All it took was for me to push the red emergency button and ask for help.”
Since July 2015, five vulnerable teenagers received life-changing assistance from Valley Metro’s trained front-line staff at light rail stations in Phoenix. To learn more, visit valleymetro.org/safeplace.
Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development is a Phoenix-based non-profit serving homeless, runaway and other young people in need ages 12 to 25 throughout Maricopa County. Tumbleweed provides traumatized young people a safe environment to heal and begin to meet the challenges of early adulthood through coordinated case management that includes counseling, emergency shelter, drop-in service centers, family reunification, high school and GED/HSE educational services, vocational, job development and employment services, long term transitional housing and street-level outreach. www.tumbleweed.org