In a campaign to raise awareness about youth homelessness, the child welfare agency Bellefaire JCB will place two dozen mannequins in high foot-traffic locations downtown starting Wednesday. The faceless mannequins will be donned in hooded sweatshirts with slogans that capture their experience.
"Survival sex is how I find a place to sleep," reads one. "I'm missing and my parents don't care," reads another.
In a recent study completed by Case Western Reserve (at the behest of the U.S. government) roughly 400 youth were found to be homeless in Cuyahoga County. But most people simply aren't aware of them.
Here's a short promotional video by Bellefaire JCB, showing Clevelanders' reactions when mannequins were set up temporarily on and around Public Square.
The campaign will last 30 days in downtown Cleveland. The NEOMG's Mark Naymik reports that Bellefaire JCB wants to set up mannequins in the suburbs as well. "But its requests have been turned down," writes Naymik, "which only underscores the need for such a campaign."