Safe Place Program 

Any youth under the age of 18 in Erie County who feels they need a Safe Place to get help with a problem- i.e their current living situation, or other crises in their life that might lead them to run away, or become homeless- can benefit from Safe Place.

Safe Place began in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 as an outreach effort of the YMCA Center for Youth Alternatives. The Safe Place program began in response to several instances where young people in need did not have means of transportation to the shelter. As a result, many youth trying to cope with personal or family crisis situations never reached the shelter. To address this issue, Project Safe Place was developed, designating businesses and community buildings as locations where youth could easily access help. Its' success has prompted the implementation of this youth shelter outreach program in 714 communities throughout the United States.

All 30 Tops Markets in Erie County, as well as every NFTA bus, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the GLYS Drop-in Center are Safe Place sites in Erie County.  To get help, a youth must go to one of these sites and state they need a "Safe Place".

The Safe Place site will link the individual in crisis to Compass House where trained counselors will assist each young person to determine the best course of action.  Our programs are designed to provide shelter and support to youth who are runaways, homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless through our Emergency Shelter and our Resource Center.

Safe Place services are available to provide immediate access to shelter and services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A youth in crisis often doesn't know where to turn to get the help they needs to solve what often feels like insurmountable problems.  By coming to a Safe Place site, each individual will receive immediate help from people trained to keep them safe and who are able to link them to the help and services they need to resolve their crisis.

Through an extensive community awareness campaign:

  •  Youth throughout Erie County will learn that Safe Place sites will be able to provide immediate access to help when they are in a crisis situation.
  •  Caring adults will be aware of the need for volunteers to facilitate linkage and provide transportation to Compass House.
  • Youth serving organizations will be able to provide immediate access to crisis services for the youth involved within their organizations to help them address and work through their crisis situations.

How to get involved:

To become a Safe Place volunteer, click here.

Any youth under the age of 18 will be able to go to a Safe Place site to access immediate help and support.  Trained staff at each site will follow a strict protocol that will enable them to access immediate help for the youth at their site.  Each site will utilize the professionally trained counselors at the Compass House Emergency Shelter, as well as trained volunteers, to provide assistance to each youth.

For a training video on becoming a Safe Place site, copy and paste this link into your browser. mms://


If you're in trouble or need help, text SAFE and your current location (address/city/state) to 69866

TXT 4 HELP is a nationwide service offered by National Safe Place to help teens connect to the closest location where they can get immediate help and safety.

Here is how it works:

If you're in a crisis, text the word SAFE and your current location (address/city/state) to 69866.

We'll text you back the address of the nearest Safe Place site and contact number for the local youth shelter. Within that same message you'll receive a prompt that says, "reply with 2CHAT for more help." Once you reply with 2CHAT, you'll be connected with a professional for more help.

Project Safe Place in Erie County is being implemented through the generosity of The John R. Oishei Foundation, who provided a three-year implementation grant of $190,000. Additional funding for Safe Place has been provided by: The Peter C. Cornell Foundation, The Josephine Goodyear Foundation, The Children's Foundation, The M & T Charitable Foundation, The Zemsky Junior Board, Wilson Greatbatch, and

National Safe Place: