SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Hundreds of thousands of dollars in new funding is going to help homeless teenagers in Savannah.
A federal grant has been awarded to Park Place Outreach, an organization that is crucial to giving those teens the help they need.
That money will go directly into funding park place’s 24-hour shelter. They provide a space where teens can feel safe, have a place to stay, and then hopefully become productive members of society.
When Angelo Jones thinks about where he would be without park place this is what comes to mind, “To be honest jobless, I’d probably wouldn’t even know what direction I want to be.”
When Jones entered the program a year ago, he says his home was unstable and he struggled to control his own emotions.
“I had a lot of case managers here, they took me in and helped me get back in school,” said Jones. They helped me find jobs and then once I left Park Place they actually offered me a job as a peer mentor.”
Jones is what Executive Director Julie Wade calls “the hidden homeless,” because they often don’t look the part.
“They don’t look homeless so we don’t think of them as homeless, but our school system counted over 1000 students who experienced homelessness throughout the school year,” said Wade. “So it’s a problem throughout our community it’s not limited to certain areas or cities its in every school in the county.”
With $200,000 now coming in over a three year period, Wade says she plans to hire more people.
“With an emergency shelter of vulnerable teens obviously staffing 24/7 is key,” said Wade. “So whenever there are children here we have two staff members on sight–they are loving, caring adults who have experience working with teens.”
The critical funding is coming from the US Department of Health and Human Services, a cause Congressman Buddy Carter said he’s supported since day one.
“That’s the kind of thing that we need, that kind of project is exactly what we need in our community so we were very happy whenever this grant was awarded,” Carter said.
Jones is living proof of what this program can accomplish.
“When you are here you see how well people help you so that makes you want to help others as well not just for validation, but you know to do the right thing,” he said.
Wade said the grant will also go toward training staff in areas like trauma-informed care and anger management. If you’d like to learn more about Park Place’s mission just visit here.