PHOENIX — Phoenix-area teens in crisis will now have almost 1,000 places to seek safety, after Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith said Safe Place would expand to all of the system’s buses.
According to statistics, more than 500 teens sleep on the Valley streets each night, some escaping abuse or neglect or have been thrown out of their homes.
The extension officially took effect Tuesday morning, pushing Safe Places to 900 buses.
With Safe Place, teens in need can contact a bus driver and they’ll get the help they need via Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. The Phoenix-based nonprofit provides aid young people between ages 12 to 24 in Maricopa County who are are in trouble.
Safe Place grew from 35 Valley Metro Rail station to cover 100 routes across 512 square miles. It includes all 35 light-rail stations.
Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego said, “We’re hoping this will serve kids who are homeless, in transition, kids who made a bad decision and now need resources to get back on their feet.”
She added that 40 percent of transit riders were students.
“So this can help all of them. A lot of young people will have a resource wherever they are.”