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Homeless shelter for teens to open in Albany

June 06, 2018 05:32 PM

ALBANY - It isn't your typical homeless shelter. The people who sleep in the beds and eat in the kitchen at St. Anne Institute in Albany will be kids aged 13-17.

"Kids are vulnerable. These kids on the street without adults protecting them makes them even more vulnerable. They can be taken advantage of or trafficked...this will be a safe haven for them," explained CEO Tony Cortese.

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St. Anne Institute is opening the eight-bed facility after a $100,000 renovation project. In the past year, 50 to 60 kids living on the street have been sent to youth shelters in Schenectady or Saratoga. Countless others have just stayed on the street, so filling the rooms shouldn't be a problem -- especially since adult and even family shelters aren't an option for homeless and runaway kids.

"The traumatic experience of kids in low socio-economic circumstances, the frequency of this problem is significant enough that there needs to be this service to keep those kids safe."

Teens can stay for up to two months. However, St. Anne isn't just providing warm meals and a bed.  Counseling and mental health help, substance abuse assistance and connecting kids with academics and a permanent home round out the long list of services that can be accessed.

"Kids don't become homeless for no reason. There are reasons. Homelessness is a symptom of a bigger problem."

The facility at 160 North Main, off of Central Avenue, opens officially next week. Teens can self-admit, ask police for help or get referred by a school district or court.

Credits

Abigail Bleck

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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