This past September, the Bridge received a federal grant for $136,000 annually for three years to support a new program, Pathfinders. This crisis-support program provides emergency assistance to runaway and homeless youth who are not connected to the CT State Department of Children and Families. Eligible youth are boys and girls under the age of 18 who are experiencing temporary or ongoing homelessness.
“Imagine being a teenager living in fear on the streets, wondering when your next meal will be, or whose couch is available that evening,” said Margaret Hann, Bridge Executive Director. “Imagine feeling lost, tired, lonely, afraid, and invisible. The Bridge will now be able to do what we do best—offer a safe haven for young people and empower them to better their lives. We are thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Pathfinders' objectives are to provide immediate safety for young people; build permanent relationships with family, caring adults, schools, and communities; and to foster healthy decision-making and long-term self-sufficiency. The ultimate goal is to ensure that these youth are equipped with the skills necessary to overcome life’s challenges. Youth will be referred to a variety of in-house and local services including family counseling; prevention and treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues; and opportunities to engage in education and life skills development.
The Bridge is the only provider of comprehensive services for runaway and homeless youth in the Greater Hartford area. Each year, approximately 2,500 young people ages 14-24 access our wide array of services. Pathfinders is prepared to assist approximately 130 youth with emergency services and support. Of that number, we will offer emergency shelter with temporary stays of up to 21 days for between 15 and 30 of those youth.