(ABC4) – Being home for the holidays is a gift that can often be taken for granted. While many are catching flights back home to reunite with their loved ones, not everyone is as lucky. For some runaway youth, home is just one bus ticket away — Greyhound is providing just that with their ‘Home Free’ program.
This year, Greyhound and the National Runaway Safeline have provided more than 230 free bus tickets to young people looking to be reconnected with their families. The tickets that were given away are valued at nearly $42,000.
The program aims to help runaway, homeless, and exploited youth between the ages of 12 and 21 reunite with their legal guardians through a free bus ticket home or to a stable and safe place.
According to the Voices of Youth Count from researchers at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, nearly 4.2 million youth experience some form of homelessness each year in America, leaving them at risk for exploitation, assault, illness, and suicide. Home Free is designed to help make sure runaway young people between the ages of 12 and 21 have a ticket to get back home to their families or safe legal guardians.
“Every year, through our Home Free program, we help young people in need receive a free ride home,” said Dave Leach, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greyhound Lines, Inc. “I am both humbled and thrilled to be a part of the Greyhound team committed to providing young people the chance to reconnect with their families and return to a safe environment. It is our hope that the resources we provide runaway youth will bring comfort to those looking to safely reunite with their families.”
Last year, Greyhound provided close to 325 free bus tickets to young people looking to be reconnected to their families.