By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Synyrgy Project of Valley Youth House – which does street outreach to homeless and runaway youth in Buck County – lost more than $180,000 in federal funding last month. But the community stepped up to save the program.
The Synrgy Project supports homeless and runaway youth age 18 and 21. The group provides food, toiletries and services to these young people, many of whom hide by couch surfing, living under bridges and in wooded areas all throughout Bucks County.
“I worked with 176 youth in this last year, in the past 12 months,” says Shane Burroughs, Street Outreach Coordinator. He says he took action when he learned they’d lost funding, calling an emergency meeting hoping to gain support.
“We always had a lot of fans, but we needed to turn our fans into supporters,” he says. “I think that happened.”
Burroughs says Foundations Community Partnership provided $10,000 in emergency funds. And then community members made calls to the Bucks County commissioners who approved an additional $60,000 in stopgap funding. Burroughs learned of the county’s approval on Thanksgiving Day.
“I think that it was amazing and wonderful that the community stepped up,” says Burroughs. “We are hoping to get our three-year federal funding back next September, but at least now we know we can make it until we reapply.”
But there is still a need. Burroughs says Synyrgy needs an additional $25,000 in order to operate at their previous level.
“We still have more work to do, but the people of Bucks County have shown that they care about homeless youth.”