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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

$2.3 million grant awarded in Waco for youth homelessness program

The grant money will be divided into three different organizations, like the Klaras Center for Families, The Cove Waco, and the Family Abuse Center.

WACO, Texas — Waco is just one of eight communities in the country selected to receive a $2.3 million grant to help secure housing for people under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness. 

Shaun Lee with the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition said they applied for the grant two years ago after noticing the need in the community. 

"For our community to lower the number of homeless individuals and families benefits the entire community," Lee said. 

The grant money will be divided into three different organizations, like the Klaras Center for Families, The Cove Waco, and the Family Abuse Center.

The Klaras Center for Families, with the Heart of Texas Region MHMR focuses on mental health. Ron Kimble the director said not having a home and transportation can impact a person's well-being. 

"We're very excited about being able to provide some very vital services," Kimble said. 

Some of the projects include youth dedicated drop-in centers, a heart to home youth navigation team, which will work closely with school districts and law enforcement to identify at-risk homeless youth, crisis transitional housing, and rapid re-housing. 

"It's not something that's always really apparent, it's not something that's necessarily talked about as much," Kimble said. 

The Cove Waco, is a drop-in center designed to provide a safe space for students experiencing homelessness and with the grant Kelly Atkinson the executive director said they'll be able to expand to more school districts in McLennan County. 

"When we can identify and support youth through high school graduation we really increase the odds that they'll be able to be self-sufficient and exit the adult homeless system," Atkinson said. 

The Family Abuse Center is also part of the grant. They serve as an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims. 

Kathy Reid, the executive director said they want to give people the resources they need to build a life for themselves. 

"It's very easy to put band aids and hand people food and the easy stuff on the front end," Reid said. "What we're really trying to do is change peoples lives."

All three organizations want to make an impact on young adults, change their lives, and ultimately end youth homelessness in our community. 

For more information on the grant and programs, visit the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition website.

The Klaras Center for Families, click here

The Cove Waco, click here

The Family Abuse Center, click here

For assistance in Bell County, visit Families in Crisis