VOA Youth Resource Center opens new, bigger facility in SLC

Posted at 7:36 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 21:36:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY - There is a new resource available to homeless youth in Utah. Volunteers of America opened their new Youth Resource Center in Salt Lake City at 888 S. 400 West.

Their old facility on State Street was 5,000 square feet while the new building now sits at 20,000 square feet.

The modern, spacious building will provide overnight shelter for homeless teens ages 15-22 years old - an option that wasn't available until now.

"What we can really do is provide a safe place for them. Not mixed in with adults," said Rob Wesemann, the Division Director of Homeless Services, VOA of Utah.

"It means a lot to me because I’ve been going here since I was 15," said Jordan Wacker.

Wacker said teens like him can find comfort and hope at the Youth Resource Center.

There are 39 beds on site with lockers to store personal items and laundry facilities. Teens will be served three meals a day, seven days a week.

"If someone is near the end of the month and they don’t have enough food to make it ‘til they get paid next time we can help with that," Wesemann said.

Teens also have plenty of room to work on schooling, participate in group therapy and receive medical care.

"If someone comes in, they just need some new clothes so they can apply for a job we can help with that," Wesemann said.

The name of hundreds of donors who helped lift the project off the ground cover one of the walls at the facility.

Their hope is that no matter how long a teen stays under this roof, they'll walk away with tools to succeed on their own.

"My plans in life are to get a job and have a family," Wacker said.

"I'm more up on my feet than I was thanks to the VOA. It’s going to be a great opportunity for a lot of kids behind me,” said Nickolus Larkin, a former homeless teen.

Click here for more information about the VOA Youth Resource Center as well as volunteering opportunities.