Rockwood's New Avenues for Youth to expand services
New Avenues for Youth, which serves homeless young people, will transform its Rockwood facility into a 24-hour help center, thanks to a recent grant.
"I believe this will be super impactful," said Sarah Neueau, director of community-based services for New Avenues.
The nonprofit organization is focused on preventing youth from becoming homeless and helping those who are unhoused.
The grant will allow the Rockwood office, which is on the Boys & Girls Club campus at 454 S.E. 165th Ave., along Stark Street, to be staffed all hours seven days per week. The expanded service is expected to start this winter.
Youth who find themselves without a safe place to stay can call or come to the office and get services and be placed in emergency housing. The office will not be a shelter, however.
When it's up and running, kids who come to the center at any hour can press a buzzer and enter the offices.
"They'll be given food, water, hygiene supplies" and their situation will be assessed, Neueau said.
Then, they'll be connected with a host home that will provide immediate emergency housing, she said. New Avenues will try to provide housing that is a good location for the youth and in a culturally-compatible home.
The $190,000 grant is a Basic Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. It is renewable for two additional years.
The grant will transform the Rockwood Youth Opportunity Center to a so-called "Basic Center" that will operate as a service hub for youth ages 9 to 17 experiencing housing instability.
New Avenues can connect kids to a network of services offered by the Alba Collaborative, a partnership between New Avenues, Latino Network, Youth Progress Association, Lines for Life and National Safe Place Network.
Alba will provide culturally-responsive case management, family mediation and reunification, crisis intervention and access to culturally specific emergency shelter options.
Alba can also provide connections to wraparound services such as alternative education, job training and employment, housing programs, and culturally specific support for LGBTQ youth, young survivors of sex trafficking and gang-impacted youth.
Sean Suib, executive director of New Avenues said in a statement: "The funding helps ensure that youth living unstably, families, and community stakeholders always have a safe place to turn for help."
New Avenues for Youth has an emergency line that young people can call anytime if they find themselves in an unsafe situation and are unhoused. The number is 503-224-4598. New Avenues will pick young people up and take them to a center and emergency housing.
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