Open Doors

Open Doors: Services for Runaway and Homeless Youth

Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca provides basic needs, counseling, and supportive services to youth that have run away or are at risk of doing so, through the Open Doors Program. The program strives to provide youth with a support system during this unstable period of their lives.

Open Doors staff aim to help youth reunite with their families and loved ones, when that is the safest choice, or assist them to find safe housing in another family setting, when it is not safe to go home.

Who is OPEN DOORS for?

  • Youth between the ages of 12 and 21 years old who are homeless, runaway, or at risk for running away
  • Youth who are currently homeless or have run away from home, and need assistance with basic needs, transportation, school, or employment
  • Youth whose goal is to live in a family setting where there is at least one adult caregiver present, rather than with peers or in an independent living situation.
  • Youth and families who need assistance living in greater emotional or physical safety with each other
  • Youth who need to access temporary shelter while working to secure a more stable living arrangement
  • Families who feel they are at their breaking point with parent/teen conflict
  • Families who may have a youth staying with them who needs additional supports to figure out their next steps with housing, school, and/or employment

What services does OPEN DOORS provide?

  • Trauma-informed, in-person and telephone consultation with youth, caregivers, and other concerned parties
    24-hour crisis response, which includes a limited ability to provide shelter in a Host Home, when necessary
  • Short-term, solution-focused counseling, goal-setting, and safety planning with youth and caregivers
  • Ongoing involvement in youth development activities and groups
  • Referral to and support with accessing community resources and other ongoing services
  • Access to basic need resources, such as food and water, first aid, clothing, hygiene items, or transportation
  • Advocacy in court, at school, in social services, and in employment situations
  • After- care connection and follow-up

All OPEN DOORS services are provided to families free of charge.

To speak with someone about your, or a youth you know who is facing, uncertain living arrangements contact our Open Doors warmline at (607) 288-2348.

To find out more about becoming a host home volunteer Download Manual here.

What is a HOST HOME?

Host Homes are an essential component of our Open Doors program. Host Homes, also known as interim families, provide a safe, temporary place to stay for teens and youth who are at risk of running away from home or are currently without shelter. We are currently seeking new Host Home volunteers!

Pending certification from OCFS, you too can become a volunteer Host Home! Contact us for more information! Or check out our Host Home Manual for more information!

Call today to make an appointment with a counselor at (607) 273-7494 during our hours of operation: Mon-Thu 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fr 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Your call will be directed to an intake professional who will match you with a compatible counselor based on your assessed needs.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please dial 911 for immediate assistance.