The assumption that homeless kids are runaways isn't always true. In fact, many of the children seen by Gatane Pauwels, president of The Pink Giraffe House, have removed themselves from their living situation in order to survive.
VIDEO: What can homeless youth expect at The Pink Giraffe House?
For many of these children, sleeping under a bridge, in a car, or even in a dumpster was a safer place than their homes. Until now.
The Pink Giraffe House marked the opening of their new headquarters in Houston on September 10.
Pauwels says their new location at Mason Street and Fargo Street in Montrose will help provide a safe space for homeless children so they may achieve stability and successfully transform their lives.
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The home is a safe haven for young victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment, Pauwels says.
In addition to finding a warm bed, a hot meal and comprehensive services, Pauwels says homeless children will find compassion and advocacy for their future pursuits.
"Help with homework, GED, tutoring, maybe helping with resume writing, crisis counseling, and then fun things for them," Pauwels says. "We're trying to help homeless children get back on their feet."
In partnership with Montrose Grace Place, The Pink Giraffe House's 'Youth Night' gives homeless youth access to a healthy, family-style dinner, along with facilitated peer discussions and group activities.
On this night, the homeless youth can take advantage of shopping a closet of donated supplies, including clothing, shoes, toiletries, bus cards, backpacks, bug spray, blankets and snacks.
Pauwels says between 35 and 45 youth are helped each youth night.
Meantime, The Pink Giraffe House is stepping up its street outreach to make more of Houston's homeless youth aware of their resources.
The organization's long-term goal is to provide transitional housing, to help these kids get a second chance and a path from the street to self-sufficiency.
The Pink Giraffe House is located at 2304 Mason. For more information and how you can help, visit The Pink Giraffe House's website.