Daybreak shelter expands services to help local youth

DAYTON — A Miami Valley organization that serves young people facing abuse, neglect and homelessness said it’s seeing an increase in teen runaways.

Daybreak has had to expand its services during the pandemic to those in need.

The organization is seeing more and more homeless youth coming in and looking for a safe place to lay their heads.

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Joan Schmil, Chief Development Officer at Daybreak, said, “The pandemic has certainly increased the demand for our services.” She said the demand has grown 68 percent during the pandemic and they’ve had to expand.

“We’ve opened two drop-in centers during the pandemic. One is a day shelter,” Schmil said.

The drop-in centers are filling in the gaps since their shelters are always at capacity.

According to Schmil, they have served close to 200 kids already this year. The group is finding that 40 percent of those are LGBTQ youth.

Alisha Murray, Chief Program Officer with Daybreak, said, “We’re finding a lot of them come out to their families and they can’t stay in the home for whatever reason.”

Those youth often find themselves at David’s Place, which is a drop-in center that opened last Spring.

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“We do work on clinical services with them as well and meet whatever their needs are,” Murray said.

Murray who works closely with the youth at Daybreak said Children Services and Juvenile Justice have been sending a lot more referrals their way.

She said, “Youth in our age group may come from environments where there’s already a housing issue. The pandemic may have not help that.”

Daybreak’s eight-room emergency youth shelter is currently at capacity, but they said they have other resources to help them find a safe place to stay.