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Non-profit clears land to build homeless shelter for young people

Immerse Arkansas is making room for a new homeless shelter in Little Rock that will help young people between the ages of 18-24.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — More resources are coming for young people experiencing homelessness in Little Rock after a local non-profit cleared the way to build a new shelter on Wednesday.

Immerse Arkansas will be demolishing an old building on Mary Street to build The Station, a shelter that will hold up to 16 people at a time.

The shelter will specifically be for youths between the ages of 18 to 24 years old— the first shelter of its kind in the state

"We want to make it easy for them to experience healing, and growth and transformation. But critical to healing is feeling safe," said Eric Gilmore, Executive Director of Immerse Arkansas.

Gilmore said the construction of this shelter will help fill a big need in central Arkansas. 

"Our adult shelters in town do great work. But oftentimes, they're not designed with young people in mind. They're geared more towards adult homelessness. And so we see young people becoming homeless and getting caught up in this swirl of chronic homelessness way too early in life," he explained.

He also said that The Station will be more than just a place to stay. 

"We'll have counseling and coaches to help deal with the challenges that are going on, possibly reconnect them with family, if that's the right thing, and help them put together a plan to find employment to get into housing," he said.

Development Director Sydney Foster said that they served more than 100 young people last year who needed immediate shelter. 

"This site is a quarter of a mile from our youth center, and so youth would be able to access both supports, but be able to have a safe place to sleep and to heal as they're accessing those other resources," Foster said.

Foster said that it feels good to see the project start after years of planning. 

"So many community members and partners that for years have invested and prayed over this and so just excited to be able to create that resource," she said.

Immerse Arkansas plans to break ground on the shelter later this year.

The project has a price tag of $3.5 million, and if you'd like to donate to support the project, you can the Immerse Arkansas website.

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