Opening our Short-Term Shelter
“The day we opened the shelter was the day I didn’t have to turn away a youth.” -Lisa Fatu, Director of Youth Crisis Services
Today we celebrate the sixth anniversary of our Short-Term Emergency Shelter, which opened on April 11th, 2016. This shelter is the only dedicated ‘transitional aged youth’ (TAY) shelter located in Sonoma County, providing safety and comfort to youth when they need it most.
“That feeling of finally giving youth a safe place to stay was overwhelmingly joyful,” says Lisa. “Before we opened the Short-Term shelter, we would have to refer youth aged 18-24 to adult services. Most youth declined this service, because they were fearful that they would be victimized in those adult shelters. The Dream Center shelter gave them not only safety and security, but hope.”
‘Transitional aged youth’ is a term referring to young adults between the ages of 18-24 years old. In general, youth this age experience a number of cognitive, emotional, and social transitions. It is a time during which many youth rely on relationships with family or other caring adults for support, but for 90% of the youth in our housing programs, there are no safe adults to whom they can turn. In a large number of cases, close adults have been a source of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. For a youth who is experiencing crisis, shelter spaces that house older adults can feel unsafe and destabilizing. SAY’s TAY shelter provides services designed to address the specific needs of this peer group.
Since opening our Short-Term Shelter, more than 300 young people have utilized this service. We are proud of the youth who have trusted us enough to walk through our doors, and for whom this shelter is a life-saving resource.