One out of every four homeless people in Mesa County is under the age of 18. Currently, there are over 260 homeless youth on our local streets. In 2012, Karis Inc. was created to try to tackle this issue.
Karis Inc., better known as The House, operates multiple short-term housing programs to provide homeless youth on the Western Slope with resources and a safe place to live. The programs focus on moving teens toward stable, permanent housing and other goals through intensive case management and support from advocates, volunteers and mentors. Last year, The House provided services to 265 young people in our community who were without homes and without adult supervision. There are multiple locations throughout the Grand Valley that house youth of all ages. With very few expectations, these teens are guaranteed a bed, and with that, a fighting chance to thrive instead of just survive.
For the first time ever, The House hosted a community event to bring awareness to the issue of youth homelessness in Mesa County. On September 27, the Alpine Bank Night on the Street Fundraiser kicked off at Colorado Mesa University with music, games, food and fun! Festivities and awards were followed by an optional sleep out, where attendees had the chance to literally SLEEP OUT to raise awareness for these teens in need.
“We love to see our community come together for a good cause,” says Ben Van Hoose, senior vice president with Alpine Bank Mesa County. “When kids are on the street with no place to go, we’ve got to take action. Night on the Street is one way we can bring awareness to the issue, and now is the time to act. Please consider making a donation or volunteering your time with The House. This is an amazing organization doing important work.” If you’d like to help, The House takes in donations of food, clothing, toiletries, even diapers for young moms who may have children with them. They are also always looking for volunteers and mentors. More information can be found at www.thehousegj.com.