Anderson Children's Foundation

Operation Safe House

Emergency Shelter Counseling for Run-away, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth (2023-2024, 2021-2022)

SafeHouse of the Desert provides up to 21 days of emergency shelter for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth between the ages of 11-17 in the Coachella Valley. As part of our shelter program we provide youth with a two hour GAIN Assessment Screening to quickly determine their level of mental and emotional health, substance usage, physical health, background issues and risk behaviors. The youth also receive daily individual and group therapy and weekly family therapy in order to open the lines of communication and support reunification.

Contact: Julie Hale, Fund Development Director/Eastern Regional Director

Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (2019-2020)

Located in Thousand Palms, SafeHouse of the Desert Programs serve runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth ages 11-24 throughout the Coachella Valley. In 2010, SafeHouse began seeing a growing trend in youth who were entering our shelters and through assessment and counseling were admitting to being trafficked. SafeHouse along with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department formed the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The Sheriff’s Department provided rescue and SafeHouse provided rehabilitation.

SafeHouse has provided services for more than 456 victim’s to-date and many of them are still receiving case management. SafeHouse Case Managers see an average of ten new clients per month and have an ongoing case load of 26 youth. Many of these cases last more than a year with weekly visits from the Case Managers who provide each client with an hour long assessment to measure the level of abuse and trauma in the trafficked youth, assist them in filing a police report if they agree, assist in reuniting the youth with a safe family member, transportation, referrals, advocacy and support through the prosecution process. Because SafeHouse is the only youth service provider in the Coachella Valley the demand for this service is exceptionally high.

Our hope is the lasting impact will be to free the youth from the bonds of trafficking and place them into a safe and healthy environment where they thrive and become mentally and physically healthy once again.

Crisis Texting App (2018-2019)

What's Up SafeHouse is a free 24/7 crisis text line and phone app for youth and young adults in need of emotional support, at any time. Youth and young adults between the ages of 11-24 can anonymously text about themselves- expressing mental health concerns, substance abuse issues, or perhaps disclose concerns about a friend or loved one. Parents, caregivers and Resource providers are also encouraged to text and express concerns about their child/ client/loved one.

Anonymity: When a text is sent it is automatically coded through a cloaking server to mask the phone number of the sender and any other identifying information. Therefore, each text that reaches our system is displayed as "unknown contact" for full anonymity of the user. The anonymity aspect of the program is one of the main components of importance to the user as it allows them to feel comfortable in expressing their concerns.

24/7: The Clinical team is comprised of three (3) Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) that are on call 24/7, on rotating shifts. This allows the team the ability to respond to all messages in real time, every hour of every day. Users who text the line are responded to within three (3) minutes.

Free: The What's Up SafeHouse app and textline is available at no cost to the user. The app is available for download on the Apple Store for iPhone users and Google Play for Android users. Users also have the option to text the line directly (844.204.0880) at no cost.*

* Message & data rates may apply by the user's phone provider if the user is not enrolled in a unlimited messaging plan.

Art Therapy / Skills Lab (2017-2018)

SafeHouse in Thousand Palms offers youth several outlets for anxiety and stress disorders that use cognitive behavioral and evidence based self-help therapies. We have found that many youth who enter our housing programs are unable to process or recognize the trauma they have experienced. Art Therapy provides a positive outlet for those repressed feelings that are brought on by life on the streets. All of our clients participate in art meditation twice a week with a certified Art Therapist. The youth are broken up into two groups, every group is tailored towards a specific project for that setting and youth can create everything from inspirational rocks, poetry, re-purposing of furniture/clothing, wire bending, jewelry and clothes making, and work on group and individual art canvases.