Open Doors

Open Doors: Services for Runaway and Homeless Youth

The Open Doors program of Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca works with youth (up to age 21) in Tompkins County who have run away from home, are experiencing homelessness, or are facing housing instability. The program provides various confidential, trauma-informed services to support youth and families and prioritizes clients’ safety and wellbeing.

Open Doors understands that every youth and family’s situation is unique, and strives to maintain an affirming, inclusive, safe, and empowering space for each individual. Staff will help youth reunite with their families or assist them in finding safe housing in another family setting when it may not be safe to return home.

Who is OPEN DOORS for?

  • Youth between the ages of 12 and 21 years old who are homeless, have run away, or at risk of running away
  • Youth who are currently homeless or have run away from home and need assistance with basic needs, transportation, school, employment, or mental health support
  • Youth who need to access temporary shelter while working to secure a more stable living arrangement
  • Families struggling with parent/child conflict
  • Families who may have a youth staying with them and are in need of additional supports to determine next steps with housing, school, and/or employment

What services does OPEN DOORS provide?

  • In-person, virtual, and telephone consultation with youth, caregivers, service providers, and other concerned parties
  • 24/7 warmline access for youth in crisis
  • Short-term individual and family therapy and psychoeducation; solution-focused counseling, goal setting, and safety planning with youth and caregivers
  • Social support and mentoring
  • Youth development activities and groups
  • Assistance with basic needs, such as food, first aid, clothing, hygiene items, and transportation
  • Aftercare and referrals to community resources for ongoing services
  • Advocacy in court, at school, with social services, and with employers
  • Temporary shelter through host homes (coming soon)

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

If you (or someone you know) is in need of assistance with uncertain living arrangements, call or text the Open Doors warmline at 607-301-3002. Or send us an email at

For general mental health support, please call 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 or 988 for immediate assistance.

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!

Open Doors Staff

Lora T – Open Doors Team Leader & Crisis Therapist

Grace A – Youth Advocate

Rachel K – Youth Advocate

Follow Open Doors on Instagram: @opendoorsfcs