With cold weather here and no shelter to house them, area activists are hoping the community will again jump on the bandwagon to serve homeless youth with cold weather gear this year.
“I really want people to still be on high alert,” said Laura Warburton, who is behind an effort to gather donations for those estimated 5,000 homeless youth in Utah, many of whom have no place to go but outside.
She said one shocking discovery for her in the last year since she’s been on a crusade to help homeless youth was a 12-year-old homeless boy who she met while he was gathering up several pairs of socks at the Ogden OUTreach Crisis Center.
“As a mom in a world that isn’t homeless, I thought, ’How many pairs of socks do you need?’” she said. “He said: ’It depends on if I have a chance to wash them. I usually don’t.’”
Warburton said she was humbled as she realized how she took her washing machine for granted.
And while much of her efforts this last year have paid off with a new law, House Bill 132, allowing shelters for homeless youth and many statewide efforts that now are coming into fruition, none of those shelters currently are in operation. She said this creates a need for a community-wide effort to help youth with supplies.
Warburton said she experienced a miracle when the community responded to her pleas for such items last year and she’s hoping for the same miracle again.
“We’re heading into the cold months and their situation is not going to change,” she said of the youth “It’s going to take some work.”
Warburton thanks the community for what people did last year to help her cause but she’s sending out the same plea this year.
“Today, there are no crisis or long-term solutions for youth outside of a very few beds in Salt Lake City, foster care and the juvenile justice system,” Warburton said.
She said children are not allowed in the adult shelters because they are targets.
“What they do for shelter and food no child should be subject to,” she said.
And Warburton said studies have documented that kids are contacted by human traffickers within the first 48 hours of being on the street. She said those hours also are when kids are introduced to drugs even if they've never used illegal drugs before.
But she said those statistics are on the cusp of changing in the local area.
“The Standard-Examiner stepped up and started an awareness campaign — Young & Homeless,” she said. “They've gone beyond my expectations. Ruth Ann Haley was hired to help with the project. The community resources and partnerships she's developing will help for years to come.”
But she said in the meantime while a shelter and other services are on their way, donations are sorely needed.
“Once again, the kids are in desperate need of survival items,” Warburton said.
Asking for only clean items in good repair, Warburton announced a drive that will take place throughout the month of October but will continue indefinitely at Ogden OUTreach and Summit Chapel.
Warburton is asking for donations of coats, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, sunscreen, wool blankets, boots, shoes, fleece items, gift food cards, can openers, black Sharpies, socks, hats, gloves, water bottles, rain ponchos, flashlights, canned foods, snacks, thermal underwear, generic boxer underwear, Chapstick, personal hygiene items and backpacks.
There are a number of drop-off locations that have been designated for the effort.
Ogden Valley location:
• Alpine Pizza in the Diamond Peak Plaza, 2429 N. Highway 158 in Eden.
Call 801-645-1900 for information. Donations taken every day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Standard Examiner, 332 Standard Way in Ogden.
Call 801-625-4400 for information. Donations taken 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Summit Chapel, 585 39th St. in Ogden.
Donations taken evenings from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For extended drop-off times email to Summitoutreach@aol.com.
• Ogden OUTreach, 705 23rd St. in Ogden.
Donations will be taken Wednesdays 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For information, call (801) 686-4528. There are other locations for OUTreach Centers in Logan, Tremonton, Brigham City and Clearfield. Call for locations and times of operation.
• Youth Futures Shelter Home, 2760 Adams Ave., has no set hours of operation at present. Call 801-528-1214 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
• Northern Realty, 1201 N. Hillfield Road, Suite 2071. Donations taken Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Inside the Layton Hills Mall, 1076 Layton Hills Mall, Layton, at the food court entrance. Donations taken Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Edward Jones Financial Advising, 44 E. 100 South, Suite No. 200 in Centerville.
For information, call 801-292-6444. Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Standard-Examiner Young & Homeless Initiative is an effort to find ways to get the community to come together and lift up youth who are at risk of becoming homeless or who become homeless.
The Standard-Examiner is donating $1 for efforts to fight youth homelessness for every donation made online as part of the Standard-Examiner Young & Homeless initiative, up to $10,000.
To donate, visit https://cares.standard.net/young-homeless/.
You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.