Jireh Ministries Mission: Building Strong Families

About The Legacy Program Our vision for Franklin County is to establish a Legacy Dream Center in Washington to deliver support an encouragement to families. We are currently seeking a location for the centerpiece of our project. We have already started making meaningful and supportive partnerships. Since we are in the planning stage we do not have all the details completed, but currently we are excited about our involvement with Safe Places.

Safe Places The first step will be establishing “Safe Places” throughout the community where homeless youth can get help. Safe Places can be businesses, public facilities, civic organizations or other locations. There will be an effort to find businesses and organizations in St. Clair willing to be a Safe Place, which is a national organization.

Employees at Safe Places are trained on what to do if a homeless youth “shows up on their doorstep,” she noted. A hotline will be offered next year to allow youth to speak with a master’s level mental health professional. If a child has an immediate mental health need, a mobile outreach unit could be deployed to the location.

MAP

While we seek our our Dream Center Location, we have started developing the Legacy Program by addressing youth homelessness in Franklin County.  Safe Kids Youth Center - St Clair is planned to provide housing for 24 to 72 hours for a homeless child coming from an abusive or neglectful situation. While at the facility, the child would undergo an assessment to determine the best course of action, whether that is reuniting with his or her family or being put in the host family program. This program will focus on homeless youth who are disconnected from family. The primary goal of the program will be to reunite the child with his or her family if it is safe or even possible.

 

According to Annie Schulte of the Franklin County Community Resource Board - “Most of them are pretty resilient kids, they’re very self-sufficient, they want to succeed. They have had some barriers in life that they haven’t been able to overcome. They are trying to get past them.”

Youth homelessness in Franklin County.

There were 269 students in the Meramec Valley R-III School District who were homeless during the 2014-2015 school year, according to a report from the state department of education. Homeless counts in other districts that year were Union R-XI, 37; Lonedell R-XIV, 11; St. Clair R-XIII, 28; Sullivan, 72; New Haven, 16; and Washington, 34. The criteria for being homeless could include a range of situations, such as living at a campground, motel, vehicle or abandoned building.


Host Families Sought

The host family program will involve people in the community volunteering to open their homes to homeless youth. We are going to be asking members of the community if they would be willing to be a host family for a youth that is homeless. The priority will be finding host families in the St. Clair area since that will be the location of the pilot program in 2016. It's comparable to a family having a foreign exchange student. The homeless children eligible for the host family program want to go to school.