Programs - My Friend's House & Community Counseling Services
City House's emergency youth shelter, My Friend's House, provides round-the-clock care and services to children ages newborn to 17. Some of our clients come to us because Child Protectives Services removed them from their home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Others come to us because they are at risk of becoming (or are) a runaway or homeless youth. All come to us needing a nurturing, safe environment they can call home.
We named the shelter My Friend’s House because we didn’t want the children staying with us to have to tell others they were living in a shelter. So when asked, they can say, “I live at My Friend’s House.”
If you’d like to help our children, please visit our Volunteer page for more information.
Every year in the state of Texas, thousands of children suffering from abuse, neglect, and abandonment are removed from their homes. There are not enough foster homes in the state to house them all, so Child Protective Services has a limited number of options for placement. Those options are even more limited when it comes to groups of siblings. Usually, they have to be separated, but thanks to City House, there is now a place where siblings can stay together: My Friend’s House.
When we built My Friend’s House, our emergency shelter for children ages newborn to 17, we didn’t want it to be just another shelter; we wanted it to be a home environment where brothers and sisters could heal together. Separating children from their siblings after removing them from their home only adds to their trauma, so it was the last thing we wanted to happen. We wanted to give them the peace of mind of knowing where their siblings were and seeing them every day. We wanted them to be able to play, eat, and heal together. We didn’t want to see these children separated from the ones who had been there for them through all of their trauma. We created My Friend’s House, right here in North Texas, so they could stay together.
Opened in late 2009, My Friend’s House has earned a reputation as a premier shelter for sibling placement. Since My Friend’s House is a facility equipped and licensed to care for children of all ages, CPS has more time to find family members and foster homes that can take in sibling groups. This has increased the percentage of siblings that remain together.
The time after children are removed from their home is very traumatic. These vulnerable children need safe shelter, nutritious food, appropriate clothing, medical and dental care, access to education, and therapy to adjust various behaviors. My Friend’s House provides all of these as well as a comfortable home environment with a kind and loving staff, thereby reducing the effects of trauma and providing the consistency and predictability that children need to overcome the suffering they have endured.
My Friend’s House RHY program is a no-cost, community-based program addressing the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth in Collin and surrounding counties. Our goal is to increase youth safety, well being, and self-sufficiency, as well as, to help them build permanent connections with caring and safe adults.
Residents are provided a 21-day residential stay with all the comforts of a caring and safe home. During this time, our highly-trained staff provide 24-hour care and services including:
- Basic needs support: food, clothing, and shelter
- Individual and family counseling
- Medical examination upon intake
- Individualized case management
- Academic assistance
- Transportation assistance to work or school
- Nutritional education
- Recreational activities
- Positive youth development and support
- Life skills and therapeutic group classes
City House also offers Community Counseling Services at My Friend’s House, with a licensed therapist on staff who is experienced in providing effective, solution-focused individual and family therapy with proven results through the use of evidence-based counseling methods. Families and/or individuals are able to come and participate in eight free sessions. Our counselors work with those who are looking to stay in front of family problems before they turn into runaway or homeless situations. You do not have to be in our care at the shelter to get help; we encourage any youth or family that is concerned about their situation at home to contact us for free counseling towards easing family conflict and issues. Please call 972-424-4626.
- It was noted there were 1,236 homeless students within Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney ISD ‘s on a single day in 2013.
- Of the 1,236 students 45% were between the age of 10-17 yrs old and 20% of them were 16-17 yrs old and likely to be “couch surfing” and not able or willing to return to their home.
- A combined total of 4,653 days of care were provided in 2014 at My Friend's House, serving 142 clients.
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One year, during the holidays, a large sibling group came to stay in our emergency shelter “My Friend’s House” after a traumatic death in their home caused CPS to remove them. A few days after arriving at our shelter, our staff drove the children to the funeral. On the way back to the shelter, they asked typical young children questions about heaven: Do you stay in a house in heaven? Are there dogs in heaven? A very sweet conversation among siblings about a place we all ponder at some point in our lives.