Teen Shelter Set to Open
The new project, called the Sol House, is set to open November 12. Directors of the new program hope to reach out to provide homeless teens structure and support, to help them successfully transition from childhood to adulthood.
More than a year ago, Rainbow House staff noticed a number of homeless teens too old for child services, but too young to receive adult benefits.
So the staff created a task force to look into helping these teens, receiving a $150,000 federal grant to fund the Sol House.
The Sol House program will provide safe and stable housing, educational opportunities, job preparation, and mental and physical health services geared to help struggling teens.
"I think all they need is just a leg up, sometimes that's all kids need is just a leg up," says Jan Stock, executive director of Rainbow House.
To be eligible, teens must be between the ages of 16 and 21 years old, homeless or living in unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, not currently pregnant or parenting, and cannot have an open case with Missouri's Children's Division and willing to obtain a G.E.D or a full-time job. In addition, the program seeks to get homeless teens involved in the community.
"Youth will be required to work so many hours a month giving back to the community," said Sol House coordinator Heather Windham, "whether it be participating in a community garden or shoveling sidewalks in the winter time."
Sol House organizers say that many area homeless youth do not actually sleep outdoors, but instead move from house to house, sleeping on friends' couches or in cars.
There are still six openings at the Sol House, and organizers are accepting referrals.
For more information on the Sol House, contact program coordinator Heather Windham at 474-6600.