A New Resource for Indiana Youth Facing Homelessness
Monday, August 7, 2023
The number of homeless adults in Indiana was at a troubling level even before the pandemic, and today, another demographic is facing the same challenges.
There is a new resource for young people who are unhoused in Indianapolis, called "91 Place," which provides transitional housing for people ages 16 to 24. The program is part of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett's three-year, $150 million violence reduction plan and is funded by federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
Karynn Adamowicz, director of development and communications for 91 Place, explained how the facility's name was chosen.
"91 Place was named after Psalm 91 in the Bible," Adamowicz pointed out. "We strive to provide a safe refuge for the youth that we serve."
The program has been open since March, and has already served more than 100 young people. According to an Indiana University study of homelessness in Indianapolis last year, individuals between ages 18 and 24 accounted for the smallest portion of unhoused people, but the number nearly doubled in two years, from 66 in 2020 to 120 in 2022.
The National Network for Youth, which advocates for those who are homeless, pointed to instability at home, such as abuse, neglect, parental substance use and family conflict, as factors leading to homelessness.
At 91 Place, live-in house mentors assist young people in becoming self-supporting. Providing shelter is not enough, Adamowicz contended, so wraparound services are also available to help identify their top priorities moving forward.
"If a youth comes to us with a medical need, we would focus on their physical health and get them to a stable position, so that then, we could focus on emotional health," Adamowicz outlined. "If they have come to us without a high school diploma, we'll need to focus on educational health. Our programming is very individualized."
The Network claims 90% of youth accessing youth shelters have experienced difficulties at home, some related to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
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