July, 20 2018

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Funding Shortages Close California Shelters for Runaway Teens

Three overnight shelters for runaway teens in the South Bay have closed since November, and some Santa Clara County centers are stepping up to help.

Leaders from the nonprofit Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara say they are providing temporary housing and services for youths from Mountain View and Santa Cruz - where shelters have closed. San Jose-based EHC Lifebuilders also plans to open a new $13 million facility for young adults in February on the corner of South Third and East Williams streets in San Jose.

Sparky Harlan, executive director of the Bill Wilson Center, said that runaways and troubled teens often migrate between Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

On Jan. 2, her organization agreed at the request of officials to pick up the runaway teens in Santa Cruz because Santa Cruz's teen shelter closed. The closures have been triggered by a lack of federal funds, she said, but the need for services remains.

"Our core runaway services are dealing with families that are in crisis," she said. "A lot of times kids are running away, trying drugs or failing in school, and we really provide that support to solve these problems."

The shelter has 20 beds and coordinates with 10 emergency foster homes to serve about 400 youths annually. Roughly three in every five teens in its programs are from San Jose.

The Casa Say shelter at 509 View St. in Mountain View closed on Oct. 19 in part because it had trouble stabilizing its funding. The center, run by EHC Lifebuilders, provided crisis care and had roughly eight beds for runaways, but funding issues forced its closure.
There still may be hope for Casa Say. EHC hopes to hand the reins over to the Bill Wilson Center, which could reopen it as a youth shelter. The Mountain View City Council will consider the deal in February.

EHC Lifebuilders has also halted overnight stays at its San Jose youth center on E. Santa Clara and N. Fifth streets in November in anticipation of opening its new Sobrato House in downtown.

EHC Lifebuilders CEO Jennifer Loving said the Sobrato House will have a drop-in center for 18- to 21-year-olds and is likely to open its services to minors later in winter. Workers broke ground on the project in June 2005, and the Sobrato House is expected to provide 10 beds for troubled youths by spring.

"We're very much looking forward to opening it," Loving said.

Harlan said her group tries to publicize its counseling services to homeless youths in San Jose by offering laundry services and McDonald's food vouchers.

"We try to get them to trust us so we can get them off the streets and into our programs," she said.

Related Articles:
Illinois Program for Troubled Youth Loses Funding 1/23/08
Canadian Wilderness Therapy Program Helps Troubled Teens
California Holds Classes for Parents of Troubled Youth 1/22/08
Wisconsin Committee Plans to Help Troubled Teens 10/22/08
Florida Lawmakers Find Mentors for Struggling Teens 1/18/08
Arizona Home for Troubled Teens Investigated 1/16/08
Pennsylvania Home offers Help for Troubled Teens 1/17/08
School for Troubled Teens Denied in Maryland 1/15/08
Montana Opens 1st of 7 Residential Treatment Centers for Meth Addiction 1/16/08
Retreat for Troubled Teens Planned in Kansas 1/28/08

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