By Cherri Gregg
WARMINSTER, Pa. (CBS) – A Bucks County non-profit that supports homeless youth lost its federal funding, but has decided to take matters in its own hands.
The Synyrgy Project at Valley Youth House is a nationally recognized non-profit that helps homeless and runaway youth, ages 18 to 21.
“A lot of the kids I work with sleep on the streets and a lot of them couch-hop from friends house to friends house,” says Street Outreach Coordinator, Shane Burroughs. He says the project helps young people who want off the streets, but also those who refuse to come inside, by providing them with vital necessities such as medication, food, toiletries and other support.
“We try to find wherever the kids are hanging out, sometimes it’s under bridges or at rail years or behind grocery stores,” he says. The organization also checks in on the young people to help them find safe places to sleep so that they do not become victims of exploitation.
“We’re trying to make sure that the youth stay as safe as possible and make sure that they are not forced to do something that they don’t want to do,” says Burroughs. “Human trafficking has become an issue in the Bucks County area and we want to make sure that as few youth as possible are approached for the purposes of human trafficking.”
Burroughs says the project’s $290,000 three-year federal grant was not renewed for 2012, so they’re hoping the community steps up to save them.
“I would hate to lose this resource in the community,” he says. “The amount of money we raise will determine whether we work full-time, part-time or not at all.”
Synyrgy Project is holding an emergency meeting on October 11th at 1pm at the Valley Youth House Shelter, located at 800 N. York Rd. Building #22 in Warminster, PA 18974.