Group Calls Attention To County’s Homeless Youth Problem

OSWEGO, NY – November is National Runaway Prevention Month.

Oswego County Opportunities’ Youth Emergency Services (YES!) Program wants to educate the community on the issue of homeless youth locally and the services YES! offers to provide assistance to those in need.

At Monday night’s Physical Services Committee meeting, Heather Robinson, of the YES! Program, requested use of public space.

She would like to use East Park in order to display 320 paper backpacks in recognition of Runaway Prevention Month.

“Our main focus is to show that 320 different youth have called our services for assistance,” she told the committee. “This is just an opportunity to raise awareness; and to also showcase the fact that we have host homes and always looking for more volunteers.”

The display would be up for the last two weeks of the month.

“I am on the board of OCO and I am amazed at how many programs they carry out and how many people that they affect in a positive way,” said Councilor Connie Cosemento, committee chair.”

Each year OCO’s YES! program provides services to hundreds of homeless youth in Oswego County.

In 2008, YES! received 320 calls to its 24-hour hotline from runaway, homeless or at-risk youth, with more than 267 receiving basic needs services such as food, clothing and shelter as well as on-going case support services.

In addition YES! made 1,471 referrals to youth for health, mental health, social, and other services.

The OCO YES! 24-hot hotline number is 342-7618 or toll-free at 1-877-342-7618.

OCO Youth Emergency Services is funded by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services through the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information, call Robinson at 342-7532 or visit

The committee gave the request a favorable recommendation.