Government shutdown affecting teen shelter

Government shutdown affecting teen shelter

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Wednesday was day 19 of the partial government shutdown and the impact reached Texoma.

It includes some of the area non-profits who depend on federal funding like the Children’s Home and Teen Emergency Shelter.

In 1992 organization which helps keep 300 homeless young adults off the streets, ages 10 to 17, created its Runaway Program to do that. Three years later, Sheila Catrone, the teen shelter’s executive director, began to apply for a federal grant to receive money to finance half of the operational services.

“That’s $167,000 so that is a huge impact to my bottom line," Catrone said. "If our government shutdown continues into the summer months, it would really impact people getting funding for the new school year. So, we are just praying for the best.”

Catrone said the shelter has enough reserve money to get them through this September but next month is when she planned to apply for the grant to finance them from October through next year.

“There could be a delay to the release of the grant," she said. "There may be a push back on writing that grant because the people who are releasing that grant are not at work today.”

Catrone said that could hurt the 300 homeless children the shelter helps every year.

“You will not really realize how many of our kiddos are living under a bridge but they are kicked out and are couch surfing," Catrone said. "The dangers of couch surfing is sometimes there’s a high price to sleep in somebody’s couch.”

Catrone said she feels there is still hope whether or not the shutdown ends any time soon.

“We are just blessed to have the community that we have had over the years because we couldn’t do it without it," she said. "This year, our agency is 107 years and we are 107 years old because people care.”

If you would like to help volunteer or donate, you can go to the non-profit’s website or call (940) 322-7671.

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