How many homeless teens are there in Mesa County?
There are an estimated 100 homeless teens in Mesa County in any given year. These teens are at risk for physical or sexual abuse. Every year 5,000 homeless teens die on the streets in America.
What is unique about our effort?
Our hope is that our work with The House will become a state model for the wise use of resources. We will rely heavily on volunteers, we will rent rather than build and we will keep our costs dramatically low. In addition, we have built a broad coalition of support from community members and organizations. Finally, we are working to recruit a legion of guardians to sustain the shelter rather than relying on a few sources of funding
Where are the parents of these teens?
Many of these children have been abandoned by their parents who are working outside of the Valley, others are runaways and others have been on the streets for years. Others were in the custody of state foster care but have run away. At The House we will work to reunite teens with their families, or, when teens are older and their parents have abandoned them, we will help teens seek stability in outside employment and education.
Who are our homeless teens?
The most responsible and supported teens struggle at times. However, imagine being an unaccompanied youth; a teen who isn’t in the custody of a parent or guardian. These teens make life changing choices when they are worried about where to stay and how to be safe. With support, they can achieve, graduate and go on to other post-secondary options. They simply need a safe place to live and people to guide them.
How can an agency take responsibility for a teen who has parents?
According to state law, a licensed youth shelter can receive custody of a teen under certain circumstances. For example, the shelter can act as the guardian of a teen if his or her parents agree to place the teen in the shelter. In addition, if the shelter staff makes a good faith effort to contact the teen’s parents and they cannot be reached then the teen can stay at the shelter.
Who is organizing the shelter?
In the summer of 2009, members of our community hosted a summit to identify unmet needs in Mesa County. At this summit and one another, the need for a youth shelter was identified. In 2010, Karis, a small non-profit, voted to take the lead in establishing the shelter and an advisory committee was formed with individuals representing businesses, banks, churches, and social service and government agencies.
What is Karis?
Karis is the Greek word for grace. It is also a non-profit incorporated in 2009 that establishes and maintains housing projects and programs in Mesa County. Karis has a particular focus on assisting low-income individuals and families who want to move aggressively towards self-sufficiency. (Learn more at www.karisinc.org)
How many teens are allowed to stay and for how long?
The limit will be between 8-16 teens. Per state/federal standards, they may stay for 3 weeks.
What will happen in three weeks while they are in the house?
They will receive considerable placement assistance from qualified staff as well as medical care and counseling. The goal will be to help them transition to places where they can move towards self-sufficiency and stability.
What happens to the teens when they leave the facility after the three-week time period?
Most teens will be quickly reunited with families, located in other programs or placed with caring families. If teens can’t be placed within three weeks we will find another temporary placement for them.
What is the operating budget?
Our total operational budget for the shelter is just under 140,000 annually. Of this, 77% will go to staffing. Of this 77%, over 90% will go to pay for staff that are mandated by state licensing requirements and/or who will provide direct services to youth.Nineteen percent of the total funds received will be used to operate the house (rent, utilities, and insurance) and to provide food for youth. The remaining money (less than 4%) will be used for fund raising.