2017-05-18 / Top News

Vita Nova ride program helps homeless youth

In the past decade, local homeless youth have indicated that if they only had a place to turn to for assistance, they would voluntarily accept help to end their homelessness. As a result, Vita Nova Inc., an organization that helps foster youth and the homeless transition to independence in Palm Beach County, has launched Rescue Ride, a program that provides immediate transportation for homeless young people ages 16-21. The program is made possible through a grant from the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

Using this service, homeless young people can connect with Rescue Ride and to a Vita Nova staff person, who will arrange transportation to a Vita Nova team member. The situation will be assessed and could lead to a plan for the young person to find temporary housing, reconnect with family, or both.

In an examination of three different sources from 2016 — the School District of Palm Beach County; the homeless resource center; and youth exiting foster care — the number of homeless youth is close to 4,000 in Palm Beach County. Jeff DeMario, CEO of Vita Nova, believes these numbers actually underestimate the numbers of homeless youth.

“We anticipate serving at least 300 youth over the next year with Rescue Rides, assessment, and family counseling services,” he said. “Vita Nova will be targeting eastern Palm Beach County … For every young adult who wants to get temporary help with food and clothing, we will find others wanting to begin a new life surrounded by a supportive family or network.”

Outreach cards will be available for the public at local grocery stores, outlet malls and thrift stores. The cards can be given to help homeless young people, providing a direct resource to guide them out of their situation.

The Rescue Ride phone number is 844-561-SAFE. ¦

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