Fundraising underway for facility to serve homeless youth in SLC

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SALT LAKE CITY -- During the day, Natascha Deininger walks around Salt Lake City, looking for those living there during the night.

“They’re kind of falling through the cracks,” Deininger said.

Throughout the winter months, the city’s homeless youth are often times left out in the cold. Deininger hopes to make the nights a little easier, as part of Volunteers of America’s youth outreach program.

“They’ll get all the blankets they can,” Deininger said. “They’ll get hand warmers, foot warmers and just hope they’ll make it through the night.”

While the VOA has a daytime shelter to offer food, clothing and services, they don’t have a place for homeless youth to stay at night.

It’s a need they’re planning to fill with the construction of a $6 million project.

“We know that there needs to be a place for youth, both to be safe, but more importantly to thrive,” said Zach Bales, who is the chief development officer for VOA Utah.

On Friday, the organization launched its last fundraising effort to building a 24-hour facility, located in what is currently an empty lot at 900 South 400 West.

The facility will provide food and employment assistance, as well as 30 beds for those who need one.

“It’s really nice to have the VOA to help me with food when I don’t have the money to do it myself,” said Ty Hubbard, who relies on the organization.

VOA still has to raise $1 million before they can begin their project, but it’s a cost they see as an investment in the city’s youth.

“Almost all the youth who come into our center really want employment and really want autonomy in their lives, and self-sufficiency,” Deininger said.

If you would like to assist with the effort, you can make a donation by visiting VOA Utah's website.

The group hopes to break ground on the project by March, in order to begin servicing youth by next winter.


  • Christine

    $6 Million for 30 beds? That is a huge investment in setting up infrastructure for the continuance of a problem. What could that money do in terms of providing mentorship, education, therapy, whatever is needed for people in a difficult situation to be able to get themselves out of it. $6 million for a handful of beds seems terribly misplaced. What do these young people really need?

    • Sarah


      You should probably do some research and read the article again. Maybe look into the HYRC and Volunteers of America and what they actually do. Or….by all means, explain to social workers, therapists, educators, and youth experiencing homelessness how to address their issues when they literally live on the streets. Maybe they can work on their GEDs at night by the light of cars passing near the overpass? The 6 million dollars isn’t for 30 beds. Use some basic critical thinking skills and your common sense.

    • bobsanidiot

      All I can say christine is wow. Lady that number is miniscule compared to the money spent on the issues created by illegal immigrants and dollars spent on their demands. I was a front end manager for a large membership store, it thoroughly pi$$ed me off to have them come in with their foodstamp cards withsome @ $2,100 a month limits for their small businesses or food trucks provided by yours truly and the government and then watch them load up then have 3 carts behind them filled with cases of beer and cartons of cigarettes and watch them pull out a wad of cash. I for one would love to contribute and take care of my own. Sign me up……

    • Tom

      You may have a point, $6m could be better spent modernizing SLC’s underground infrastructure like other cities have done to address homelessness: “A judge in New Kingston, Jamaica ruled that homeless young people — many of whom have been kicked out of their homes for being LGBT — can continue living in the capital city’s sewers, where they’ve taken up residence after being forced to leave abandoned buildings in which they sought shelter.”

      Or perhaps a solution that costs absolutely NO money would help keep youth from being thrown out on the street in the first place. A simple change to religious indoctrination would address about 70% of the current situation: “It’s more than tragic—in fact it’s shameful—that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence.

      LGBT men and women will continue to be vulnerable to the sins of homophobia and heterosexism, to the violence of hate and fear until we in the church can say to homosexuals now what it has said to heterosexuals for 2,000 years. Your sexuality is good. The church not only accepts it. The church celebrates it and rejoices in it. God loves you as you are, and the church can do no less.” 2014 Episcopal Proclamation – National Cathedral

      • Bishop

        Children must be taught to make correct lifestyle choices. If they use their free agency and refuse to follow the lords plan of salvation.. then…

      • Jason

        It is become more even more difficult to teach our children about Satan and the nature of sin. Other religions that are not blessed with access to moral truth are promoting the LGBT lifestyle and now, the liberal agenda wants to provide them with a six million dollar hotel. Go figure!

      • Steve

        Jason- how stupid do you feel knowing Satan doesn’t even exist? People like you hold this country back. You, and whatever idiotic, fairy tale-believing children you raise are a menace to modern society that should rightfully be exterminated. Yes, science killed god, for the better of mankind. Please take your entire extended family and go fight those idiots in Iraq and Syria over who read the better fairy tale. Scumbag.

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