Reuniting Families, Greyhound Offers Free Rides Home to Runaways
A shocking report from the National Runaway Safeline reveals that between 1.6 million and 2.8 million young people run away from home every year but Greyhound is doing its part to help reunite families by offering a free ride home.
Although the Home Free Program was established in 1995, many people still aren't aware of the program or what it offers to runaway, homeless, and exploited young people.
Through the Home Free Program, young people between the ages of 12 and 21 who identify as homeless, runaway, or who have been a victim of human trafficking and genuinely want to be reunited with family are given a free ride home or a safe place to stay. Helping with giving rides home is Greyhound Bus Lines.
In order to be given a free ride home on a Greyhound bus, the runaway must call the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929). The National Runaway Safeline will verify that the young person is between the ages of 12 and 21 and that if they are between the ages of 12 and 18 that their name is listed on a runaway report. The Safeline will then verify that the runaway really does want to be reunited with their family and that the family wants to be reunited with them. Once confirmed, the National Runaway Safeline will help the runaway get a ride home or, also provide parents, guardians, or other family members a round-trip ticket to travel to wherever the young person is.
According to Greyhound, each year, the bus line takes about 400 young people back to their loved ones, and once reunited with loved ones, the National Runaway Safeline requires those who participate in the Home Free Program to follow up with supportive services providers in order to address the issues that led to the young person leaving home or becoming the victim of trafficking.
If you’re a parent or guardian who is concerned about the young person in your life, the National Runaway Safeline has resources to help you, too.