KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Greyhound is helping teens reunite with their families or legal guardians. Its Home Free program gives a free bus ticket to a runaway, homeless, or exploited teen allowing them to get home or to a safe and stable place. 2021 marks the 34th consecutive year Greyhound has provided this free program.
“Every year, through our Home Free program, we help young people in need receive a free ride home,” said Dave Leach, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greyhound Lines, Inc. “I am both humbled and thrilled to be a part of the Greyhound team committed to providing young people the chance to reconnect with their families and return to a safe environment. It is our hope that the resources we provide runaway youth will bring comfort to those looking to safely reunite with their families.”
In 1995, Greyhound partnered with the National Runaway Safeline, an organization that helps keep runaway and homeless youth safe, to expand the reach of this program and potentially help more children.
“The Home Free partnership between Greyhound and NRS continues to have a positive impact in providing a vital resource in helping address and resolve the growing number of homeless and exploited young people,” said Susan Frankel, Chief Executive Officer, National Runaway Safeline. “We are honored to be able to continue our partnership with Greyhound Lines and look forward to serving as their charitable partner for the Home Free program for many more years.”
Home Free is open to those between the ages of 12 and 21 and are homeless, a runaway or a victim of human trafficking. Those under age 18 can only return to a parent or legal guardian, which includes a non-custodial parent, sibling age 21 or older, or an extended family member, such as aunt or uncle.
Those ages 18 to 21, can also choose to go to an approved alternative living arrangement, such as a transitional or independent living program. In addition, those who were formerly in the child welfare system have the option to travel to a prior adult caregiver.
In 2020, nearly 325 free bus tickets were provided. So far in 2021, More than 230 free bus tickets have been given out, valued at nearly $42,000. To learn more about this program or join the program, call 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or visit www.1800RUNAWAY.org.