GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Young people who are homeless are at a high risk of assault, sexual assault, victimization, addiction, and even death.
“Their main capacity in that situation is to think about how to survive. How to get the next meal. How to stay safe overnight,” says Troy Sides a Case Manager at the Laurel House Apartments.
In Mesa County, more than one-third of the homeless population is youth or young adults.
That’s why many folks see the Laurel House as a crucial facility in Grand Junction.
“It’s really a building to invite hope and progress in our youth,” says John Mok-Lamme, the Executive Director of Karis.
And now, its doors are open and ready to serve as a roof over the heads of least 34 young people.
The people selected to live in the apartments can stay for free.
“The youth that will be invited here are the most vulnerable youth in our community. We’re looking for youth that we know are at a long term risk for homelessness,” says Mok-Lamme. Once they get jobs, they will pay 30% of their incomes as rent.
“We’re trying to teach these youth, independent living,” says Sides. But facilities like the Laurel House aren’t just good for the residents who live in it. Some experts say these types of facilities could save tax dollars in the long run.
“There’s a lot of tax dollars into programs like this, and there are a lot more tax dollars that go into programs if they don’t get housing like this,” says Sides. The Laurel House has beds, kitchens, and communal spaces. Most importantly, it gives these young people a place to call home.
‘This housing is designed to hold those populations with these unique challenges in a manner that keeps them safe and keeps them stable in the long run,” says Sides.
For tours sign up here: https://thehousegj.org/laurelhousetours/