Serving the Homeless Youth in Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah’s most vulnerable population is homeless youth. Youth run away from their families due to neglect, physical or sexual abuse, and other family dynamics (e.g. lack of parental support, alcohol abuse). Early experience with homelessness impact children’s academic performance, impede development of positive peer and mentoring relationships, or expose them to dangerous or unhealthy environments. Serious, detrimental long-term outcomes of runaway behavior include lower wages, lower education level, higher arrest rates, lower health ratings, higher suicide levels, and greater dependence on public assistance.
Looking for opportunities to serve this population, we identified the Volunteers of America Utah Youth Resource Center as an ideal platform. The Youth Resource Center serves youth ages 15–22 who are experiencing homelessness and other unstable housing situations. It provides a day drop-in center for youth to access meals, showers, laundry, and basic-needs items such as clothing and personal-care items. The program also offers 30 beds of emergency shelter for youth with no other place to turn, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to an average of 40-50 youth per day.
MobiChord Cares has already gotten started by volunteering to help serve breakfast at the Youth Resource Center. We hope to be able to serve the Youth Resource Center and the homeless youth population the best, and in any way we can.