DENVER — A homeless youth organization is expanding its housing options to Denver for people between the ages of 18 and 24.
TGTHR is an organization dedicated to getting teens and young adults off the streets and into a stable place to call home.
Last year, TGTHR helped 61 youth who were formerly in foster care. Another 86 had a history of human trafficking. One hundred and six experienced domestic violence and 70 LGBTQ+ reported family rejection.
Chris Nelson, CEO of TGTHR, said the organization's first housing project in Boulder was such a success, he decided one was necessary in Denver.
"We're learning here in Boulder, with this 40-unit project. We've seen a little more than half move on to independent housing in two years. So it works. And so we're gonna keep replicating it," Nelson said.
The new housing project will be located in RiNo on Wewatta Way.
"We will be building 56 units of permanent supportive housing or non-time-limited supportive housing for young people coming off of our streets," said Nelson.
Teens and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 will have the opportunity to apply to live in the building. Not only will it be a safe space for those who need it, but it will also be filled with counselors who are able to help them navigate through life and resources to help get stable work.
"We're just putting a small dent in it. But we really want to do more and more of this. So we can work towards solving this problem," said Nelson.
Isis Marshall is a testament to this.
"I've lived here — believe it's been a year and a few months," said Marshall. "Being here has always has been like a blessing."
The 20-year-old became homeless after a grandparent kicked her out in Minnesota. With the help of friends, she found herself at TGTHR, now praising the Boulder housing project for giving her options once again.
"I think a lot of things would have been a lot different for sure," Marshall said.
It's the same kind of options Nelson hopes to give others by building the new housing project in Denver.
"God, I wish it was tomorrow," Nelson said. "It's not soon enough, right?"
At the end of the day, for Nelson, it's all about giving young adults a helping hand when they need it most.
"I don't think it's difficult for any of us to put ourselves in the shoes of a 19-year-old or an 18-year-old and say, 'Look, you're trying to figure out how to survive every day. How would you feel about having a stable place to live with supports and peers around you? And access to resources and amenities that you otherwise didn't have access to?' So they're feeling impatient about it, excited, as much as we are," Nelson said. "It's everything. It's everything."
TGTHR officials say they hope to break ground on the new building later this year. The plan is to open the new housing project in late 2023 or early 2024.