A nonprofit organization focused on getting homeless teens off the streets is moving into Montgomery County. CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services teamed up with Amsterdam officials to host an open house at its newest drop-in center. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, you may not see the problem, but homelessness among young people is a big concern for the city.
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- "We saw a need in the area," said Andy Gilpin.
In the past year, CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services has placed 33 youths into shelters. And project coordinator Sharah Yaddaw says many of those young people came from Amsterdam.
"In this community, it's a little bit more underground, there are better places to hide, there are abandoned buildings everywhere to hide in, so it's not as visible here," said Yaddaw.
Mayor Ann Thane said, "This was of great concern to us to realize there is a need here, but there is."
But hopefully now with a new weekly drop-in center on East Main Street, the need will diminish.
"We have laundry there, they'll be able to provide food and health information, counseling services," said the mayor.
The center will be open to anyone age 13 to 21 every Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m.
"Ideally, we'd like to have a couple of staff members here interacting with the youth that are here then a couple of our street members actually out on the streets," Yaddaw said.
Yaddaw says those employees will be interacting with every young person they come across because it's not only homeless teens that need help.
"May run in to a youth who's getting beat up or abused in some way or whose parents are shooting up in front of them and neglecting to feed them," Yaddaw said.
And now they have the option to go somewhere safe with people that will support them.
"And hopefully get them on track and get them on their own feet," said Gilpin.