The group Volunteers of America is almost finished raising money for its new homeless youth resource center and overnight shelter. The non-profit is launching a campaign called “Home for the Holidays” to make the final push for public support.
The new space will be located in the Granary District near 400 west and 900 south. VOA Utah currently has a drop-in center in downtown Salt Lake City where young people can get a meal, take a shower and utilize social services, but they can’t stay overnight. Zach Bale is the chief development officer at VOA. He says the new building will have 30 overnight beds for minors and young adults. He adds, they’ll also be expanding education and employment resources.
“For the youth that come in we should provide a safe place,” Bale says. “We should also give them the skills that they need to get off the street permanently.”
Bale says about 65 percent of the youth the VOA serves have experienced abuse and may not be able to return home. They often end up in juvenile receiving centers, after being picked up by law enforcement.
“But in terms of a specific shelter for the youth ages 15 to 22, across that age gap, voluntary shelter where youth can come in because they need a safe place to be, yeah, it will be a new service to the state.”
The law changed in recent years to allow organizations to provide overnight shelter to minors.
Correction: VOA is expected to break ground in March 2015 and the shelter will open late next year.
In addition a 15-bed youth shelter will open in Ogden at the beginning of the year.