From the May 15th edition of the Carrollton Leader
by Heather M. Goodwin
It was more than three years in the making, but now officials are ready to open the doors to Denton County’s new teen homeless shelter.
Kyle’s Place will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 19 at the facility, 1960 Archer Way. The event is the community’s first chance to see the completed site. The building was fully renovated, including a new HVAC, roof and kitchen.
“We have seen an increase in homeless youth over the last four years and recognized the critical problem of kids aging out of foster care and becoming homeless,” said Kim Hinkle, co-founder and executive director of Journey to Dream the nonprofit behind Kyle’s Place. “We will make a dent, but there is still so much more to do.”
Many community groups and volunteers had a hand in renovating Kyle’s Place. Hinkle said church groups, United Way of Denton, Traffick911, Young Life groups, Young Men’s Service League, National Charity League, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and many others helped bring the dream to reality.
“This has been such a community effort, and we are beyond grateful,” Hinkle said. “It’s taken us three and a half years to get here and now the work is truly beginning.”
Kyle’s Place will be staffed with seven full-time staff members, an administrator and site supervisor, residential care staff, part-time staff, as well as licensed interns. It will provide emergency shelter and 24-hour care for teens 13 to 18 years old, regardless of why they are homeless. It will also offer homeless teens a place to sleep, food, clothing, basic needs and individual and family counseling. It will also have enrichment programs and services, case management, academic support and tutoring, medical and dental care and career and job training.
For the past year, Journey to Dream has been doing case management with teens who are homeless in the county and beyond. Kyle’s Place will also be licensed with the state, which will help officials find teens in need.
“We have established relationships, as well as a strong reputation, within the school systems, with law enforcement, the medical industry and have some great agency partners that are of the same mind and heart as JTD,” Hinkle said.
Now that the building is complete, Hinkle said the real work begins.
“It will be loving these kids. Letting them know that there are people they can trust, who won’t hurt them,” Hinkle said. “We’ll also be advocating in our county, our state and our nation for so many that need a voice.”
Looking back on the journey so far, Hinkle said some of the most aspects have been the staff and team she has worked with.
“Watching them gel and work with such tenacity and passion, having a community and volunteers embrace us like they have and just watching God move all of the doors He’s opened and resources poured out,” Hinkle said. “We have been blessed the entire time.”
Community members have many ways to get involved with Kyle’s Place. Hinkle said they need support, financially and through volunteering. Officials are also available to share the issues and raise awareness to community groups.
Hinkle said there is a need for a shelter in every large school district, as well as host families willing to take in teens. Kyle’s Place can help students while they are in the facility, and officials will do everything to help them be setup for success.
“The bigger question is, who connects with them on their birthday or Christmas in years to come?,” Hinkle said. “Most of them have endured so much tragedy and trauma. Regardless of their age, they all deserve a family.”