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Fri, Aug 28, 2015

Valley Metro Expands Safe Place

PHOENIX, AZ – Through a partnership with Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Valley Metro has designated four new light rail stations in central Mesa as safe places for teens that are homeless or wandering the streets with nowhere to turn.

“With the extension of light rail into central Mesa, Valley Metro is extending its commitment to the community through Safe Place,” said Steve Banta, Valley Metro CEO. “Light rail stations are a community asset that is designed to provide a safe space for everyone, most notably our youth.”

Two vulnerable teenagers recently received the assistance they needed at light rail stations in Phoenix. A 16-year-old Nevada runaway received much-needed help from a Valley Metro security officer. The pair called Safe Place from the light rail station at Thomas and Central, where the frightened teen connected with Tumbleweed and received support in less than one hour. The second teen connected to Safe Place through the emergency call box posted at 19th Avenue and Montebello.

“Safe Place is designed to do exactly that – provide a safe place for teens in crisis,” said Cynthia Schuler, CEO of Tumbleweed. “Because of the training Valley Metro has done with its front line staff and the visibility of Safe Place at light rail stations, Tumbleweed staff was able to provide the teens with immediate housing and basic needs.”

Safe Place Poster

Valley Metro’s partnership with Safe Place began in 2013. Teens that are homeless, have left their homes because of abuse or neglect, or have been asked to leave by parents or guardians can seek help at any light rail station 24-hours a day.

With the opening of the Central Mesa light rail extension on August 22, a total of 32 light rail stations now serve as safe places. An additional three light rail stations will be designated Safe Place contact spots when the Northwest Extension opens in spring 2016. To learn more, visit valleymetro.org/safeplace.

About Valley Metro: Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of 23 miles of light rail. In Fiscal Year 2015, total ridership for the system was 71 million passengers. Six light rail extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 66-mile system by 2034. Valley Metro also offers transit options including alternative transportation programs for seniors and people with disabilities, commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two Boards of Directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting valleymetro.org.

About Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development: Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development is a Phoenix-based non-profit serving homeless, runaway and other young people in need ages 12 to 25 throughout Maricopa County.  Tumbleweed provides traumatized young people a safe environment to heal and begin to meet the challenges of early adulthood through coordinated case management that includes counseling, emergency shelter, drop-in service centers, family reunification, high school and GED/HSE educational services, vocational, job development and employment services, long term transitional housing and street-level outreach. www.tumbleweed.org




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