Donations needed to help youth get out of homelessness amid COVID-19 pandemic

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The Place is a non-profit based in Colorado Springs, offering a variety of programs and shelter which support young people and help them get out of homelessness.

The ongoing COVID-19 threat is just another obstacle homeless youth have to face, according to Gary Patterson, outreach case manager.

“It went from zero to one hundred really quick, it’s affected us,” Patterson said.

FOX21 spoke to a teenager who is currently staying at The Place, for his protection we are not disclosing his identity. The teen did tell us he and others rely on the non-profit to get off the streets, and now more than ever they need a safe place to stay.

“I’ve been having lots of anxiety,” the teen said. “Ever since I found out [The Place] was open it’s been a huge relief.”

The Place is also taking care of youth who lost their job because of the pandemic.

“The virus has affected job, about a week ago we had four of our clients laid off,” Andy Petersen, Director of Development said.

In response, The Place has put in place safety measures to protect staff and those they serve. They are restricting access to the shelter and are no longer letting volunteers in. Volunteers help prepare meals, so until they’re allowed back, the non-profit is in need of commercially prepared meals.

“It’s essential, if people are staying here they need the right food, ” Petersen said.

The Place is also asking for the following items to be donated:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clorox-type wipes
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Toilet paper
  • Kleenex
  • Laundry detergent and soap
  • Cases of water bottles
  • Bus passes to get to work
  • Gift cards for incentives
  • Gogurt, beef jerky, granola bars

Right now, the staff is putting extra hours in making sure their clients are taken care of. They are also helping those staying at their shelter get jobs, but the pandemic is putting a strain on those efforts.

“It’s a different time. Change is here and there’s changes that can’t be explained,” Patterson said.

If you would like to donate email volunteer manager at sarah.obarski@theplacecos.org.

Click here to listen to a message from the Executive Director in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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