New Morning Youth & Family Services
A home for runaway and homeless youth

News

Few passing by the beautiful, airy 3,500-square-foot house with six bedrooms would know this is where homeless and runaway youth from El Dorado County will soon lay their heads at night.

That was all part of the plan at New Morning Youth & Family Services in Placerville when they began construction on a new shelter last year.

“We wanted to provide a warm, private, home environment that would give kids some personal space while we work to reconnect them with safe family or another permanent home,” said Kathy Brook-Johnson, acting executive director.

The current shelter, which opened nearly 20 years ago, is 1,000 square feet with three bedrooms, six beds and a small living room and kitchen.

Construction began on the new shelter in October 2010 and will be complete in the next few weeks. The new home more than triples the previous space and includes four bathrooms, a large living room, kitchen, a balcony overlooking pine trees and 12 new beds provided by Sleep Train. The space includes two wings, one for girls and one for boys, as well as a sitting area and study room in each wing.

The Emergency Youth Shelter will serve youth ages 6-17 by providing them with a roof over their heads, clothing, hot meals, counseling and drop-in services. Every youth who comes to stay at the shelter is paired with a counselor who works to reunite each child with family, if safe. Most of the youth who come are teenagers, and the average stay is eight to 10 days, but can vary from a day to months at a time.

Sometimes the shelter is used as respite care when both parent and child decide they need a break. Often, children are fleeing abusive or neglectful households. Nearly 90 percent of youth at the shelter last year had been physically, sexually or emotionally abused, and 80 percent were living with parents who were abusing alcohol or drugs. Seventy-two percent had seen their parents beat each other or their siblings.

“Often when kids choose to run away from home, it’s not really a choice,” said Brook-Johnson.

David Ashby, executive director on sabbatical, said a new, expanded shelter has been in his “fantasy file” for 14 years. New Morning, which provides family and individual counseling in addition to its emergency youth shelter program, first applied for California Emergency Housing Assistance Program funding in 2006 to build a new shelter, but at the time funding was only available for adult shelters. When funding was opened to youth shelters in 2008, New Morning was the first youth shelter in the state to receive the funding. 

New Morning has raised $1.9 million of its $2.2 million capital campaign to build the shelter and will hold a fundraiser Sept. 24 to raise additional resources. Walk For Shelter is a walk-a-thon that will begin at 11 a.m. at Placerville’s Hangtown Village, 1200 Broadway, and end 3.4 miles later at the shelter where walkers will enjoy food and a tour of the home. To participate in Walk For Shelter or to sponsor the event, visit here.

New Morning still needs to raise $300,000 to meet its goal. To make a financial contribution, visit www.newmorningyfs.org/support-us. New Morning also received a generous donation of a Corum timepiece women’s watch from Change of Life Foundation. The timepiece retails for $5,395 and is available for purchase to raise funds for the shelter. All offers will be considered. For more information, call New Morning at (530) 622-5551.

To help furnish the shelter, visit www.newmorningyfs.org/support-us/wish-list.

To learn more about New Morning Youth & Family Services’ shelter and many counseling programs, visit www.newmorningyfs.org.