Wilmington’s West End Neighborhood House is raising $4 million for a project aimed at expanding housing, employment opportunities and independent living counseling to men and women between ages 16 and 23.
The focus on young people experiencing homelessness follows a U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness report from January 2019 that said, out of Delaware’s estimated 921 homeless people, 42 were unaccompanied young adults between 18 and 24. With emergency shelters operating at half capacity in 2020 due to the pandemic, there is a possibility that the number of young adults with nowhere to go is higher in 2021.
Part of the project will be a new drop-in resource center that will provide meals and services, including job skills training, to homeless youth. The center, slated to open this year at the nonprofit’s 710 N. Lincoln St. location in Little Italy, will be the first of its kind in Delaware.
Among the project’s supporters is M&T Bank, which contributed $150,000 toward the project. The bank will also be offering financial literacy education and coaching to the young people served by the resource center.
“For more than 20 years, our community has expressed the need for a resource center to serve homeless youth,” said Paul Calistro, executive director of West End Neighborhood House, in a statement. “Thanks to M&T’s generous support and concern for their well-being, these young men and women will now have access to the help they need to stabilize their lives and reconnect with their families.”
Services to be offered at the new youth resource center include:
- Life skills workshops on conflict resolution, stress management and goal setting
- Transportation for medical appointments, job interviews and grocery shopping
- Assistance enrolling in health care, educational and job training programs
- Referrals to medical, substance abuse and mental health providers
- Family mediation
- Financial literacy
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