Homeless Youth Often Forgotten

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 8:14 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 8:14 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) With temperatures falling, concern about the homeless is increasing.

But there is one group that is often overlooked: homeless youth.

Each year, 2,000 young people become runaways in Erie County and many of them become homeless.

The actual number is hard to calculate because it includes runaways, throwaways (kids who are kicked out by their family), and a percentage of youth who choose to live on the streets and in abandoned buildings.

Since 1972, Compass House has been working to provide safe shelter and services to runaways and homeless youth.

The not-for-profit group routinely sends out volunteers with coats, blankets, and personal care items - looking for homeless youth.

"We have four people that actually do the street outreach. They go out in pairs of two. They go to the bus station, they go to the parks. Laundromats are a good place to go because they are warm and open 24-hours per day."

Compass House also works with local Tops supermarkets and the NFTA to provide a "Safe Place" for runaways.

Homeless youth can go to any of these locations and volunteers will help them get shelter and services.

Compass House also provides a hotline for youth in crisis: 716-886-0935