SHERMAN, TX -- Roughly 49 million Americans, or 16% of us, are living in poverty. For those that are homeless in Grayson and surrounding counties, there's a shelter looking to help.
A study just released by The Salvation Army reports that two of every five Americans say they’ve received financial assistance or housing support. In Grayson County alone there are roughly 250 people who are homeless. With a new location opening soon, the North Texas Youth Connection, is working on bringing this number down.
'We do residential and non-residential services for homes and abused children and also children and families in crisis that need counseling and other services,' said Chief Advancement Officer Dr. Jan Elias.
Founded in 1979, NTYC's emergency shelter houses runaway, homeless and neglected kids ages 10-17 and transitional living services for youth and young adults age 16-24. They provide a home for about 125 minors each year.
'We are talking about young people who are on their own for the first time either by circumstance or by choice," said Interim Executive Director Sharon M. Watson. "They may start out and then find they don't have money or a job, or lose a job, and they are homeless."
Shelter and Transitional Living program staff are present 24/7 and act as the parents the young people are missing. They provide life skills and mentoring as well as get them ready for school, teaching them how to do laundry and cook, helping with their homework and more.
NTYC has acquired a new facility and has just begun a fundraising campaign to renovate the building at 100 Memorial, next to the old TMC. The building is double the size of the current space.
The extra room is to take in more kids whom Jan says need a lot of love. And that caring for them not only enriches the children's lives, but the lives of her and all of the NTYC staff.
"I think that our program and many of the non-profit organizations in this area are vital to the well-being of the community." said Jan.
North Texas Youth Connection hopes to start renovations at the new site in September. The center is also one of six area shelters that recently received the Emergency Shelter Grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
This means NTYC can provide emergency shelter to kids aged 10-17 along with education, lifeskills and employment so they have the tools to never be homeless again.