Kathy Looper, founder of Gloria House in Visalia, shows some of the 24 beds and sleeping pods that will be available to young girls who have no other place to go. File Photo
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
A new shelter for homeless teens is ready to open in Visalia, filling a desperate need in the state.
Headed by faith-based nonprofit Journey Youth Coalition, the Genesis House has received its state licensure, and will officially open its doors at 5 p.m. Friday as a homeless youth shelter. According to Kathy Looper, executive director, the shelter will meet the needs of one of the most underserved demographics in the state — the young.
“So, there’s only 11 [shelters] in the whole state,” Looper said. “There’s 1.5 million runaway and homeless youth in California.”
Currently, the 3,100-square-foot shelter is qualified to house six girls for up to 63 days. There are plans to bring this number up to 24, and they are working with the city to attain the conditional permits necessary. They expect to complete this process within two months.
In the meantime, the Genesis House is engaging in mobile outreach with Kaweah Delta Medical Center. The outreach effort will not only informs youths about the house and (for boys) the Fresno EOC Sanctuary Homeless Youth Shelter, but also provides medical help and provisions. They have also received the endorsements of local law enforcement and the Tulare County community.
“To say that some of our teenagers are vulnerable is an understatement. Too often, they’re victims of crime and even more often they’re victims of circumstance,” said Tim Ward, District Attorney of Tulare County. “We’re grateful for Genesis House and the role they play in providing hope, safety and compassion.”
For more information, please visit https://www.genesis-house.org/, or https://thebusinessjournal.com/gloria-house-beacon-homeless-girls/ for a previous story on the shelter.