GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
The House, a safe place for teens on the Western Slope, has secured a six-figure grant that will allow them to purchase and own their current shelter. The grant is a big step for the organization and marks the next chapter in their mission.
For homeless teens, finding permanent roots can be a struggle.
"No building, no shelter. You've got to have a place to put the teens," said John Mok-Lamme, executive director of Karis Inc.
The House has been able to give that opportunity to dozens of young people.
"Having a facility has allowed us to help a lot of teens. We've helped almost 50 teens move towards self-sufficiency," Mok-Lamme said.
Several months ago Hilltop helped keep their mission alive.
The CEO of Hilltop, Mike Stahl, said, "We couldn't see a better way to utilize the dollars we had available to really help this program get up and running."
Mok-Lamme said, "We're really thankful to them for their stepping in and buying it and really making our work possible."
"Without Hilltop stepping in and helping those 50 teens would be without a safe place to be," Stahl said.
Now the House is securing their roots for the future.
"We got a grant from the Department of Local Affairs for $159,000 and some Community Development Block Grant funds, so that should be enough to allow us to purchase the building from Hilltop and also to do some rehab so the facility is a little more in compliance with state regulations," said Mok-Lamme.
"I don't think any one agency can meet all the needs. Partnering together and working where we can and sharing our resources, it just makes Grand Junction the community that it is," Stahl said.
With the grant the teens will have a lot to look forward to in the future.
Mok-Lamme said, "We'll put a bathroom downstairs for the girls because it's a big frustration for them now that they have to walk up the stairs and shower on the boys' floor. Make our home a little more energy efficient, take the windows out, put better windows in. And then the state requires that we have a nice recreation area so we'll remodel our backyard, put a basketball hoop in there and some volleyball equipment and things."
While they still have goals to conquer, the House is on track for making real change for homeless teens in the Grand Valley.
The House has around 800 guardians for the teens, but they are 200 short of their goal. To learn how to become a guardian and help out the teens, head to www.thehousegj.org