Take a Closer Look at Teen Homelessness: Mannequines coming to your street as part of campaign

CLEVELAND - Starting Wednesday mannequins will begin to flood the streets of Cleveland.

The mannequins are part of a homeless youth campaign sponsored by Bellefaire JCB . The campaign's purpose is to inform and educate the community about youth homelessness. 

The mannequins will be dressed in hooded sweatshirts with various phrases that represent why they are homeless. Some include, "I'm missing and my parents don't care" and "My dad kicked me out because I'm gay."

On Wednesday the agency will place the mannequins in teen-friendly locations around the city. Some locations include: bus stops, coffee shops, the West Side Market, school yards, LGBT Center, basketball courts and Tower City.

"People don't have any idea what a homeless or missing person looks like because they look like everybody else," said Karen McHenry, director of homeless and missing youth program for Bellefaire JCB. "They don't want you to notice them and that's what makes it difficult."

McHenry said each display will have a placard nearby with Bellefaire's hotline (216) 570-8010.

"We want families to know that they can call and we can come up with a safety plan because we know that terrible things happen very quickly once the youth is out on the street."

She said a youth will be solicited for sex within 72 hours of being on the streets.

The mannequin campaign was conceived by the Doner ad agency which provided their services free of charge to Bellefaire.

This YouTube video serves as the campaign's public service announcement. To make the video, organizers placed the mannequins around Public Square to capture reactions. 

 

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