Local group seeks to build youth homeless shelter in Elkhart


A local group wants the City of Elkhart to build a youth homeless shelter. Almost 100 people met to discuss that possibility Wednesday afternoon.

Organizers say a lot of kids are running away from dire situations at home, and right now, they don't have any place in Elkhart County they can go for safety.

Many people came out this afternoon to discuss just exactly how a youth shelter in Elkhart County would work.

Organizers said they wanted to see the city play more of a role in helping to build one.

Mayor Dick Moore did say that was something the city should be looking at. He also pointed out that under state law, that's not a function of city government. So he says using taxpayer money isn't an option.

But organizers say that a homeless shelter for kids under 18 is critical for the future of kids in Elkhart.

"It's anyone's guess as to how many on a single night are on the streets, but if they have a place they have an option, we want to give them that place, we want to give them that option, where they have some place to get off the streets that's safe," said John Shafer with Michiana Five for the Homeless.

Organizers point to the Youth Service Bureau in St. Joseph County as an example they'd like to follow.

Their shelter in South Bend serves about 150 kids in a year.

Organizers also stressed this was just the first of many meetings they hope to hold. The next one is scheduled for later in August.

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