PO Box 3516
Kingston, NY 12402
Staff: 11 full-time/4 part-time
Program Director: Cynthia B. Bennett
Assistant Program Director: Kielawan Ahmed
Program Hours: Access to the shelter is available 24 hours a day.
PRIMARY FUNCTIONS: Emergency shelter for up to 14 runaway and homeless youth, ages 12 – 18, for an initial stay of 30 days, and up to a total of 60 days. By regulation, parental consent is not required. The program has been granted two waivers by the NYS OCFS from licensing requirements, allowing the program to serve one 18 year old at a time for up to one week, and to serve a parenting youth and his/her infant/toddler.
ANCILLARY SERVICES: Individual, family, and group counseling for all clients; life skills training; access and advocacy for educational, medical, legal, mental health and substance abuse services; services for youth involved in the criminal justice/Family Court systems; and aftercare services.
While the program is universally acknowledged as an essential component of the county’s safety net for homeless adolescents, the program is continuously in jeopardy because only a portion of the youth served are billable on a per diem basis, and the state has cut runaway and homeless youth funding by 70% over the last five years. With the help of the Ulster County Mental Health Department, the agency has begun to receive per diem revenue for some of the youth placed at the facility by the SPOA process or those recognized as having serious mental health issues. The program also recently expanded its respite services for youth from Sullivan County who are in the waiver program of the Mental Health Association and approved a contract with Parsons, which is providing up to 18 respite beds, as part of the expanded waiver program in Ulster County. Family House is also in the process of changing its level system to make a higher level more achievable for our clients. We want to create a sense of accomplishment and keep up with the changing times. In addition, Family House is changing its cell phone policy because it was discovered that some youth would rather remain homeless than give up their cell phone, their only connection to the outside world. Youth will be able to use their cell phones on a restricted basis.