An individual was referred to our Street Outreach program after being released from jail. As we talked with this individual, we learned she had absolutely no possessions, and that she had an extreme heroin addiction. We were able to build a strong rapport/relationship in a short time, and she quickly came to trust our supportive counseling and advice.
After all was said and done, this young woman made her own choice to enter into a recovery program about five hours away to maintain her sobriety post-release. If it weren't for us meeting her, she does not think she would have made that decision.
The Street Outreach Project is a unique and compelling program. Our specialized, dedicated team builds rapport and relationships with youth throughout Saratoga, Rensselaer, Fulton, and Montgomery Counties.
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Through these connections, we are able to assist youth who spend much of their time on the streets. Youth who do not have healthy support systems or who have been exposed to reoccurring traumas have a high likelihood of becoming homeless or being subjected to sexual exploitation, abuse, or violence. They are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in unsafe sex, suffer from mental health problems, and are frequently targeted by law enforcement. Many of the youth also have social, family, and academic issues or other barriers which prevent them from living healthy lifestyles or from pursuing their goals. Through our outreach efforts, our team offers the opportunity for these youth to build positive relationships with caring adults they can trust. This alone can be a powerful positive force in the lives of youth who are at high-risk, homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Street Outreach Project also provides basic needs assistance to youth including nutritious food items, basic clothing such as socks and coats, basic medical items, educational information, etc. Outreach services are delivered in high-profile areas where and when youth are known to congregate.
These services include:
- Street-based outreach and education
- Crisis intervention
- Access to emergency shelter
- Basic survival tools (clothing, food, hygiene supplies)
- Referrals to needed medical services
- Assistance with transportation
- Referrals to sexual assault and crisis rape relief counseling
- Referrals to drug and alcohol counseling
- Individual assessments and case managements
- Relationship building with trustworthy adults
- Coordination with community partners such as schools and law enforcement
- Assistance in finding housing and employment
- Referrals to family counseling
- Educational and skill-building opportunities
- Follow-up support
Through these outreach efforts, CAPTAIN offers youth resources to help them break dysfunctional cycles that keep them street dependent. Youth become less vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse, have fewer arrests related to substance abuse and/or violent behavior, and increase their ability to trust others. The Street Outreach Program helps youth identify and reduce barriers that may exist between themselves and their dreams and goals.