TC's Only Teen Homeless Shelter Can Keeps it's Doors Open for Now
The only teen homeless shelter in Tri-Cities will be able to keep its doors open, for now.
Safe Harbor's My Friend's Place has been open since 2011 but more recently was at risk of shutting down due to a lack of funding but things may be looking up with money raised by the community.
"If it weren't for them I would probably be sleeping in parks and waking up in the mornings and going to the convenience store bathroom and still cleaning myself up before I went to school," said Morgan Haberlack.
Nearly two years ago, Haberlack was house hopping with her mother and helping her mom sell drugs, when one day her mom left her.
Haberlack was completely alone and starting sleeping in parks and finally showed up to My Friend's Place, where her whole life turned around.
The shelter's executive director Karen Kirk-Brockman said it was just six weeks ago that she considered closing shop due to shortage of funds.
She said that possibility keeps her up at night because she knows what these kids would be doing without a place to come home to.
"If we didn't have it open, we'd have children roaming the streets," said Kirk-Brockman. "When kids have nothing besides their body, the only thing that can happen is they sell it or it gets used."
About 10 kids ages 14-17 stay her every night.
The shelter is funded by the county, donations and money raised at this thrift shop.
The goal was to raise $30,000 to keep things going for a couple of months until the shelter found steady funding.
So far, the community has raised nearly $55,000.
It costs about $400,000 anually to keep things running smoothly.
The kids are provided a place to sleep, breakfast, dinner, snacks and essential supplies.
They can also receive counseling and access to WorkSource.
Safe Harbor's Board Chair Mark Lee said these are good kids who deserve a chance.
"I would feel incredibly sad to see these kids walking the street with no future," said Lee. "I'm glad they're here and to see them act like kids."
Haberlack said because of this shelter, she has a job and her own life now.
She said for some of these kids who have nowhere else to turn, this may their only chance.
"There's tons of parents out there that just can't take care of their children, don't want to take care of the children or aren't capable of taking care of their children," said Haberlack. "Those kids need a home."
Those who run the shleter understand not everyone in the community can donate money but they do also encourage you to donate your time through volunteering if you are interested.