Navigating the Process of Accessing Youth Shelters in Northumberland County, PA

Learn about the process of accessing youth shelters in Northumberland County, PA from an expert's perspective. Understand eligibility requirements, intake process, and what to expect during your stay.

Navigating the Process of Accessing Youth Shelters in Northumberland County, PA

As an expert in the field of youth shelters in Northumberland County, PA, I have seen firsthand the challenges that young people face when trying to access these vital resources. The process can be overwhelming and confusing, especially for those who are already dealing with difficult circumstances. In this article, I will guide you through the steps of getting into a youth shelter in Northumberland County, PA.

Understanding the Need for Youth Shelters in Northumberland County, PA

Before we dive into the process of accessing a youth shelter, it is important to understand why these shelters exist in the first place. Northumberland County, PA is home to many young people who are facing homelessness, abuse, neglect, and other challenging situations.

These shelters provide a safe and supportive environment for these youth to stay while they work towards finding more permanent housing or resolving their personal issues. According to a report by the National Center for Homeless Education, there were over 1.5 million homeless students in the United States during the 2017-2018 school year. In Pennsylvania alone, there were over 35,000 homeless students. These numbers highlight the urgent need for youth shelters in Northumberland County and beyond.

The First Step: Contacting a Youth Shelter

The first step in accessing a youth shelter in Northumberland County is to contact one of the shelters directly. There are several shelters in the county that cater specifically to young people, including Shelter A, Shelter B, and Shelter C.

Each shelter has its own intake process and eligibility requirements, so it is important to reach out to them individually to determine which one is the best fit for your situation. When contacting a youth shelter, you will likely speak with a staff member who will ask you some basic questions about your age, living situation, and any immediate needs you may have. It is important to be honest and open about your situation so that the staff can determine the best course of action for you.

The Intake Process

Once you have contacted a youth shelter and have been deemed eligible for their services, the next step is the intake process. This is where you will provide more detailed information about yourself and your situation. The intake process may vary slightly from shelter to shelter, but generally, it will involve filling out forms and providing documentation such as identification, proof of income, and any relevant medical records. During the intake process, you will also be assigned a case manager who will work with you to develop a plan for your stay at the shelter.

This may include setting goals, identifying resources, and addressing any immediate needs you may have.

Eligibility Requirements

As mentioned earlier, each youth shelter in Northumberland County has its own eligibility requirements. However, there are some common criteria that most shelters look for when determining eligibility. These may include:
  • Age: Most youth shelters cater to individuals between the ages of 12-24. Some shelters may have specific age ranges within this range.
  • Homelessness: In order to be eligible for a youth shelter, you must be experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Vulnerability: Many shelters prioritize serving those who are most vulnerable, such as those who are pregnant or parenting, LGBTQ+ youth, or those with mental health issues.
  • Behavioral Issues: Some shelters may have restrictions on individuals with certain behavioral issues, such as a history of violence or substance abuse.
It is important to note that even if you do not meet the eligibility requirements for one shelter, there may be other shelters in the county that can assist you. It is always worth reaching out to multiple shelters to explore your options.

What to Expect During Your Stay at a Youth Shelter

Once you have been accepted into a youth shelter, you may be wondering what your stay will be like.

While each shelter is unique, there are some common services and resources that most shelters provide. These may include:

  • Housing: Youth shelters typically provide temporary housing for their residents. This may include dorm-style rooms, shared apartments, or individual rooms.
  • Meals: Most shelters provide meals for their residents, either through an on-site kitchen or by partnering with local organizations.
  • Counseling and Case Management: As mentioned earlier, each resident is assigned a case manager who will work with them to develop a plan for their stay at the shelter. This may include counseling, goal-setting, and connecting residents with resources in the community.
  • Education and Job Training: Many youth shelters offer educational and job training programs to help residents gain skills and become more self-sufficient.
  • Recreation and Activities: Shelters often provide recreational activities and events for their residents to participate in, such as sports teams, movie nights, or field trips.
It is important to remember that while staying at a youth shelter, you are expected to follow certain rules and guidelines.

These may include curfews, chores, and attending mandatory meetings or activities. These rules are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.

Transitioning Out of a Youth Shelter

The ultimate goal of a youth shelter is to help residents transition into more permanent housing and become self-sufficient. This may involve working with your case manager to develop a plan for finding housing, employment, and other resources. Many shelters also offer aftercare services to help former residents adjust to life outside of the shelter. It is important to note that the length of stay at a youth shelter varies depending on the individual's needs and progress.

Some residents may stay for a few weeks, while others may stay for several months.


Accessing a youth shelter in Northumberland County, PA can be a daunting process, but it is an important step towards finding stability and support. By understanding the need for these shelters, contacting them directly, and being prepared for the intake process, you can navigate this process with confidence. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help when you need it, and youth shelters are here to provide that help when you need it most.

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