WACO, TX — The City of Waco is one step closer in its battle to end youth homelessness in the community.
The $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is being divided between three organizations- the Heart of Central Texas MHMR, The Cove, and The Family Abuse Center.
Waco was one of just eight locations in the country to be selected to receive the grant.
Klaras Center for Families, along with the Heart of Texas MHMR, is receiving $1.7 million of the grant.
"I think it not only says that there's a big need here, I think it says that we've had a really successful, unified, coordinated response from our community," said Ron Kimble, the Division Director for Klaras Center for Families.
Kimble says from 2018 to 2019, there were at least 131 young adults in Central Texas between the ages of 16 and 24 that were found to be at risk of or literally homeless.
"What we know about that age range is not only are you increased risk in behavioral health difficulties, you're also often times aging out of school, dropping out of school, aging out of juvenile justice sometimes child protective services programs," said Kimble.
Thanks to the grant, Klaras Center for Families can continue focusing on mental health services while providing safe housing as well.
"There are so many people in the city of Waco that care about them, that don't want them to feel like they have to figure it out on their own, or that they have to give up," said Kayleigh Cunningham, the Assistant Director with The Cove.
The Cove received $311,520 from the grant. At The Cove, staff provide just about every resource you can think of, from daily meals to books to a safe place for youth to shower or wash their clothes.
"And then having someone there to listen and to offer suggestions or resources maybe they didn't know about," said Cunningham.
The grant will allow The Cove to expand their hours of operations, the range of school districts it helps, as well as provide more staff and counselors for the youth.
"Here at the Family Abuse Center, we all feel every day like we save people's lives," said executive director Kathy Reid.
The Family Abuse Center received $216,600 from the grant. They plan to help house youth who may be homeless due to domestic violence, letting survivors know they're not alone.
"To see somebody come through the door who is demoralized and discouraged and has literally nothing, and you see them grow through the process and is being supported. It's a huge change," said Reid.