St. Ambrose Ladies Group collecting items for homeless youth

Friday, Nov. 29, 2019
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — An estimated 2,876 people in Utah experience homelessness on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of that number, 287 are families, 239 are veterans, 191 are young adults (age 18-24), and 306 are individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. 
To help the homeless youth in Utah, the St. Ambrose Parish Ladies Group is dedicating their Annual Stocking Stuffer program to them. This is the second year in a row that the women have done so.
“People might not realize that they have a homeless troubled teen shelter right here [in Salt Lake City], and I think it’s important to help them,” said Lynn Rohland, the parish’s office manager, who also is a member of the St. Ambrose Ladies Group.
Adding that “it’s important to do this; as we can see right now, homelessness is very prevalent in all cities and societies,” Rohland encourages people to contribute to the group’s effort.
In particular, the group is seeking clothing items for homeless teens ages 13 to 18 who receive services at the Volunteers of America’s homeless center in Salt Lake City. Clothing such as underwear, socks, PJ bottoms, sports bras and cami tops, and personal care items are the most needed.
An estimated 15,094 public school students in Utah experienced homelessness over the course of the 2016-2017 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Of that total, 636 students were unsheltered, 994 were in shelters, 459 were in hotels/motels, and 13,005 were doubled up. 
“Youth are sometimes forgotten; people make an assumption of what homelessness is, and they don’t always consider that it includes young people and teenagers,” Rohland said. 
As Catholics “it is important that we remember that for youth like this, this is a year-round issue and we should be helping year round. ... Obviously people during Advent and the Christmas season want to do more, but we ought to remember that this is a year-round issue,” she said.
To donate, people can drop items at St. Ambrose Parish during business hours.
 “If they wanted to do something more specific with the VOA homeless youth shelter, they can contact them and find out what they need,” Rohland said. 
The VOA Youth Resource Center offers services and emergency shelter to all youth aged 15-22 who are at risk or experiencing homelessness. Provided are basic need items, three hot meals a day, pantry food, showers, laundry, life-skills groups, housing and employment case management, and dental and medical care assistance. Access to mental health services also is available onsite. At night the center transitions into a 30-bed emergency shelter for youth. 

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