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Central Texas organization seeks volunteers to sponsor homeless youth this season

Youth Homeless Demonstration Program
Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 23:40:53-05

A Central Texas organization is looking for sponsors to provide holiday gifts to unhoused youth this December.

The Heart of Texas Youth Homeless Demonstration Project (YHDP), a part of the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition, is entering its second year of providing essential gifts to teens and young adults in need.

Natalie McClure, lead peer support specialist for YHDP, is spearheading the project.

"We're moving a lot of youth in and you have to understand, they're going from homelessness to being housed, so they have nothing, essentially," McClure said.

The program has collected wish lists from roughly 90 youth. About 45 of them had sponsors as of Monday afternoon.

Common wish list items include clothing, kitchen essentials, and cleaning supplies.

McClure herself was homeless for about a decade and now advocates for others struggling with housing insecurity. She said the holidays are especially difficult for homeless youth.

"I spent ten years homeless. I think the generosity of people around the holidays is just amazing," she said. "Now being on this side ... there's joy to be experienced over here to give back to the youth."

Nicole Wiscombe, director at YHDP, said over the last three years, the organization has expanded to help more and more homeless teens and young adults.

"For the past year, we've averaged about 75 youth throughout the entire year," Wiscombe said. "Even as youth get housed and moved on, new youth move in."

To sponsor a homeless teen or young adult, you can contact McClure via phone at (430) 333-0512 or via email at Natalie.Mcclure@hotrmhmr.org. You can also visit the Dobey Drop-In Center, located at 2111 Austin Ave. in Waco for more information.