WICHITA, Kansas - With the rising number of homeless youth across the country, a local shelter for children has announced plans to expand.
The Wichita Children's Home is planning to move to a facility beginning construction later this year on 37th Street North near Rock Road.
This comes as the National Center for Homeless Education says there were 1.2 million homeless students in the 2011-12 academic year, an all-time high that is up ten percent from the previous year and 72 percent from the beginning of the recession in 2008.
That was they year 19-year-old Jordyn first came to the BRIDGES program at the Wichita Children's Home. She had given birth to a son, and had been in and out of foster homes when she sought out help.
"I never really had any role models or influences while I was growing up," she said. "So to have staff be there to support me really helped a lot."
Now 19, Jordyn has a job, completed high school, and is getting the parenting skills to be a good role model for her son.
Without BRIDGES, Jordyn said, "I would be a horrible mother, I would be a drug addict, I don't think I would have a job, I definitely wouldn't be in college. So everything positive in my life, I'm 100 percent sure I wouldn't have without Bridges."
The rise in homeless youth is not surprising, according to officials.
"Whenever you see an economic downturn like we have in recent years, you're more likely to see homeless youth because they might be the oldest one in their family and their parents are saying you know, it's one less mouth to feed, you need to be on your own now," Melanie Miller Garrett, of the children's home, said.
The new campus will have about 30 apartments for youth in the BRIDGES program, which had been living in a long-term motel. The $11 million project will also have housing for younger children taken into protective custody, plus recreational facilities.
"With the trauma and abuse issues that we know about in the youth that we serve, it's often better to have them in single units and that's one of the things that's going to change," Miller Garrett said. "It's also going to allow us to have our programming in a central location with some expanded services."
The apartments could potentially be ready in 2014, with the other facilities slated for a 2015 opening.
An Amtrak line is stranded on the rails for nearly five hours Sunday morning outside of Emporia frustrating weary travelers
It's a day that will live infamy as veterans around the nation and here in Kansas took the time to remember Pearl Harbor.
Kansans of many faiths got together to try to feed the hungry this holiday season.
The future of one of Wichita's most beloved parks was the topic of discussion this today.
A 4.5 magnitude earthquake has been recorded in central Oklahoma by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A national basketball tournament that's called Hutchinson home for six decades could leave town if improvements aren't made to the sports arena.