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Teen, youth shelter giving more to individuals than just a place to stay

The Place, youth center to help teens get back on feet
Posted at 9:51 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:31:33-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — "The Place" is a teen shelter in Colorado Springs that helps youth from ages 15-20 to find stability and someplace to call their own.

There is so much more that The Place does than get teens out of the cold.

They offer educational opportunities, and employment, and health programs.

"They gain stability in the community, that they know how to reach out to other healthy organizations or they know how to create healthy relationships in the community," said Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of The Place.

Kemppainen says as of Tuesday, 18 of the 20 beds were full, but regardless of occupancy, the center plans to help whoever is in need.

"We don't turn youth away from the perspective that there is no room at the inn. We talk to them if we don't have a bed available about other options."

Including conversations about other ways to improve their lives, no matter their life circumstance.

"The fact that while young people and others that are homeless can struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues, that's not often the reason why they fell into homelessness."

Kemppainen says it's two reasons in particular, family conflict and economic issues.

"It's really about a economic and housing issue in the community and really about relationship and their resources to get them off the street."

In addition to offering a roof over their heads, The Place offers a temporary drop-in center from 10am - 4pm where teens receive a warm meal, and can chat with other teens who are in the same situation.

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