Former Homeless Woman Takes Strides Toward Independence

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JEFFERSON CITY - Chelsea Sheley, a previously homeless college student, paid a deposit Thursday on an apartment with the help of the Columbia Youth Empowerment Zone.

Sheley was in the foster care program in Boone County, but was "phased out" due to her age. She was enrolled in the Moberly Area Community College at the time and had to withdrawl because she did not have a steady home. Despite working at a grocery store as much as she could, she couldn't afford a place of her own. Sheley said she slept on various couches and eventually went to The Room at the Inn homeless shelter in Columbia.

While staying at The Room at the Inn, Sheley was told about the Youth Empowerment Zone in Columbia. She said the organization has helped her in numerous ways. 

Now that the deposit for her apartment is paid, the Broadway Christian Church of Columbia is funding her first month's rent.

Sheley plans to attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City in the fall where she hopes to study nursing.

The Youth Empowerment Zone's Executive Director, Lorenzo Lawson said Thursday there are still a lot of Chelseas out there who need their help. The Youth Empowerment Zone is a non-profit organization. If you are interested in donating to the organization, click here.