A charity that I have been working with, and one that I truly appreciate, is Promise House; an organization dedicated to fighting and preventing chronic homelessness in North Texas.
Beginning its efforts in 1984, Promise House started following a community needs survey conducted by the Lovers Lane Methodist Church, which found that there was a shockingly small amount of support for the homeless and runaway youth. In an attempt to combat this, the church bought and developed a 16-bed emergency shelter just outside of downtown Dallas. Thus began Promise House’s vision, that every youth has a safe and nurturing place to call home.
Today, the organization has expanded greatly, now covering a variety of issues surrounding the Dallas area. Their services include crisis intervention, pregnant teen services, transitional housing, counseling, outreach to neglected or abused youths, and most importantly, education on all of these subjects. While they do specialize in youth services, Promise House is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for teens and families in need as well. To this day, they have been serving roughly 1,700 youth and families per year.
Promise House is proud to welcome individuals of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and political beliefs, discrimination against no one. Of these individuals, most come to the organization due to a range of complications. A lack of basic needs is one of the most prominent issues. Homeless youth do not have shelter or food, are very limited with clothing, and rarely have access to medical care. With homelessness comes an even broader range of issues.
Homeless youth are seldom given the chance to receive a basic education. A majority of Promise House’s teens have gone through volatile life events, either being in and out of school frequently, or not attending at all. Research has shown that homeless youths were 5x more likely to drop out of high school than those with a family of high income. Similarly, children and teens exposed to any type of abuse or neglect are often run away or are kicked out of their homes. Whether this is tension due to sexual orientation, teen pregnancy, or simply a difference of opinion between parents, escaping these homes is considered an obligation by many of Promise House’s clients.
Mental health issues are also associated with homeless youth, as they are much more likely to suffer from these behavioral problems than children or teens with a comforting home. Unfortunately, self-harm and suicide is much more common among homeless teens. Promise House effectively gives these at-risk youths a second chance through a loving, nurturing home, that also provides counseling and education to confront their mental health issues head on.
If you would like to contribute or donate to this amazing charity, visit their ‘How to Help’ page here. With a strong support backing them, Promise House can potentially end youth homelessness throughout North Texas, and prevent children, teens, and families from suffering from this troubling issue.