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Group opening transitional housing for youth on east side of Indianapolis

Posted at 8:07 PM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 20:07:21-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Abandoned, broken down and boarded up. A house on the east side was in bad shape earlier this year, but after some major renovations it will soon be a home to young people in need.

Jenna Shaffer is the founder of 91 Place. She has worked with homeless youth for years and said there is a lack of resources, especially on the east side.

"A place like this will mean everything to them," Shaffer said. "Indianapolis has only one transitional housing program for these youth and they only have eight beds, so they're doing amazing work, but there is such a need for more."

Shaffer teamed up with Joni Nelson and her nonprofit, Global Illumination, to make this happen. Their goal was to provide more than just a place to sleep.

"A home is not usually the first thing a youth wants when they are experiencing homelessness," Shaffer said. "It's relationship and family."

The leaders of the project said many people experiencing homelessness are in that position through no fault of their own, so they want to give them every resource they can to set them up for a successful future.

Nelson used her design skills to make that a focus.

"We've expanded walls," Nelson said. "We've really invested in the kitchen and the dining room."

It's a space where the teens and young adults can talk and connect with mentors and available resources. The home is geared toward people between the ages of 18-22, especially those from the east side.

"We don't want to bring them outside of their community and try to transform them somewhere else and them plop them back where they are from," Shaffer said.

The first few people are expected to move into the house by the end of the year.

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