Youth Futures: Providing A Safe Haven For Homeless Youth In Cedar City
In 2023, a facility opened in Cedar City designed to be a refuge for homeless youth ages twelve to eighteen. The shelter is operated by a group called Youth Futures. Chari Bambrough is the Community Development Coordinator for Youth Futures and joined us on the radio to talk about the organization, and what they hope to provide to the area.
"Youth Futures is a homeless shelter for unaccompanied youth ages 12 to 18. So we have youth who have either ran away from home or maybe being kicked out of their home. For a variety of reasons, we also have youth who have a family that is homeless or, you know, in circumstances where they don't have a place to stay and the youth will stay with us, so they have a warm bed to sleep in regular meals, internet to do their homework and all of the things that these teenagers need to be successful,” Bambrough explained.
Bambrough explained how Youth Futures got started. "Our founders, Scott and Kristen were up in Ogden ,and they were volunteering and helping out at a call center for youth where troubled youth could call in. Maybe they were having trouble at home and just have a mentor or someone to talk to. There were so many times that these kids would call in and they realized they weren't calling from home or from school. They were actually calling from the streets on a payphone back then and Kristen said ‘You know, somebody needs to do something about this,” Bambrough told us, continuing “so they decided to start the shelter.
But there were some legal obstacles that had to be overcome. At the time, there were laws on the books that prohibited sheltering youth who were minors, as that was the same as harboring minors. The laws at the time were intended to keep kids from being held from their parents, but stood in the way of youth shelters, not only from Youth Futures but from other organizations.
Founders Kristen Mitchell and Scott Catuccio “worked with some of our local legislators and community groups and actually got a bill passed back in 2015 so that a licensed facility could house homeless youth,” according to Bambrough, “and that's when we opened the Ogden shelter and became the first licensed facility in the state.”
She went on to say that the licensing process at first was a long and bumpy ride. “Licensing (was)never a never ending process in the beginning. Like I say, we had to. Get a representative to sponsor the bill and all of the if you've ever watched the old you know cartoons about how a bill makes it through Congress, it's a long process of coming up with the compliances and because it had never been done in Utah, it was really us sitting down with the licensing and helping establish what needed to be done.”
The Youth Futures shelter in Ogden can shelter 16 youth at a time. But the shelter also has drop in service during the day where youth can come in and use the internet for school assignments, do laundry and tend to other needs.
The Saint George facility can also shelter 16 and the facility in Cedar City shelter has 12 beds. There is also a second facility operated by Youth Futures in Cedar City.
“We have a transitional living program as well in Cedar City for 16 to 24 year olds. Generally if they're under 18, they stay at the shelter first to make sure they're they're ready to go to transitional living,” according to Bambrough. She outlined what are the requirements for those in the transitional facility.
“To live in the transitional living program, they have a job, they're, you know, capable of living independently as far as you know, we don't have any concerns about self harm or isolation or any of those things. They pay a minimal rent at the at the TLP where their $50 a week goes to pay for the facility and therapy and all of that. Any additional rent paid is put into an account for them. So when they're ready to move out onto their own, they have a little savings account so they can pay their deposit on their first apartment or whatener that money needs to go to once they're ready to move on,” Bambrough said.
The Youth Futures facility in Cedar City is located at 133 South 100 West. You can find out more about the Youth Futures programs by clicking here, and you can hear our entire segment with Chari Bambrough below.
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