This back to school season is different for some area teens. The Center for Youth says it's seeing
a spike in homeless youth this school year and its blaming the cost of living.
The Center for Youth says the added stress is causing conflict in area homes, forcing many young people to turn to it for help.
"Usually families are calm peaceful and joyful and ready to go back to school," said the Center's Executive Director Elaine Spaull.
This year that's not the case for some teens.
"I think the last time we saw a spike like this was probably in 2009 right at the height of the whole recession," Josh Jinks, the Centers Emergency Shelter Program Manager, said.
Jinks says 10 of their 13 beds are full already. Nine of those kids, came looking for help in just the last week.
Spaull believes rising prices for gas, food and possibly even school supplies are to blame.
"We know that our families, who are already very fragile, when they're faced with economic challenges things get even worse," Spaull said.
The Center tries to expose the kids to new possibilities by providing food and a place to stay. This time of year, it also gets them new school supplies and clothes.
"We know for many kids, the way you start the school year really indicates success later," Spaull said. "So it's our job to make sure they start on the right foot."
It's a huge undertaking, sometimes the Center has to make tough decisions. Last year, in a six month period, it had to turn away 200 kids. Many of them end up sleeping on the streets.
"It's heartbreaking when you turn a 12 or 13-year-old away," Spaull said. "You know there's no place else for them to go in our community."
The increase in homeless teens may continue through the school year.
"More than likely we're going to gear up for a busy fall," Jinks said.
The Center for Youth takes in kids between the ages of 12 and 18. It's asking families out doing their back school shopping to pick up a few supplies to donate to its teens - if they can.
You can drop-off supplies between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. at their location in Rochester at 905 Monroe Avenue.