HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — We’ve all heard of teens living on the streets, getting by any way they can, but I doubt many of us think about it happening right here in Huntsville.
Well, it is and that is why two local programs provided by Tennessee Valley Family Services are so important. One is known as the Studio.
The Tennessee Family Services Regional Director, Lynn Caffery says they have a team that goes out on Monday, Wednesdays and Friday nights. “They go out into the streets, they take survival kits which consist of hygiene and no-perishable food items,” Caffery said, “They go to homeless camps, they go to skateboard camps, wherever homeless kids will hang out.”
The team invites the teens back to the Studio. There, they can get a bath, a hot meal, and the team will help them get an ID. This can lead to the Koru Silver Program.
Caffery says they are the transitional living program for homeless, runaway, at risk youth, kids that have been abused and human trafficked. They help them get their education, get jobs, counseling, mentorship, medical, dental, and vision treatment.
“We monitor our youth to see how they’re progressing. We’re there until the duration, we are their family,” she said.
These kids come from all walks of life. Caffery pointed out that these teens are kids who have been transitioned out of DHR, or whose parents do not want them or parents are in jail. Some of them haven’t had a chance because they’re not in the age frame to be adopted.
“We want them. We want to help them,” said Caffery.
However, this comes with a big price tag. The team runs on a Federal grant which takes care of some of the bills and needs, but they still rely on community support and donations.
They do not currently have enough bed space for all the teens they’re working to take off the streets. They’re working to raise money to re-model to better assist the teens.
Caffery shared that she comes from a similar background as these teens, and that if she had not had someone to show her the way, she believes she would either be in prison or be dead.
“So, it’s all about giving back what’s been given,” she said.