Runaway teens have gone through two holiday seasons without a North County shelter. But the former Casa SAY teen shelter is finally back in business.
Now known as Quetzal House, the converted home at 509 View St. was reopened in May 2008 as a six-bed group home for teenage girls. But because of new federal funding and licenses obtained Feb. 24, the shelter now also has opened two more beds which are available short-term to runaway girls or boys brought in by police or overwhelmed parents.
"A lot of our referrals come from parents," said Debbie Pell, program director for the Bill Wilson Center, which took over the home last year. "Parents say, 'I think they are using drugs,' or 'they don't come home, can you help me?'"
Under the program, in addition to the two beds, host families will be taking in runaway youth. One local household already has been approved, and three others are pending.
Former operator EHC LifeBuilders had closed the shelter in October 2007 in order to balance its budget.