- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) - A northern Indiana children’s home hopes to open an emergency shelter next year to serve some of the scores of homeless youths in the area, its president said.

Bashor Children’s Home is trying to raise about $100,000 needed to open the shelter in a vacant building on its Goshen campus, President and CEO Don Phillips said Monday.

“We’ve got nothing but support and encouragement from the community in terms of Bashor’s position to be able to respond to this. We’re hoping that that will turn into financial support,” he said.

Indiana Department of Education figures show schools reported 207 homeless teens in Elkhart County during the 2013-14 school year - more than in surrounding counties. That’s about six out of every 1,000 students.

The shelter could serve as many as 150 children each year, Phillips said. Bashor’s board will make a final decision on whether to open the shelter in January, he said.

Advocate John Shafer of Nappanee has pushed for such a shelter.

“We know that any homeless youth becomes a dangerous situation,” said Shafer, who founded a nonprofit called Chicago and Michiana Five for the Homeless.

The $100,000 that Bashor is seeking would be used to hire and train staff and for minor repairs to the building, said Steve Riikonen, a spokesman for the children’s home.

Once it’s up and running, funding would come from Indiana’s Department of Child Services, which needs a location to temporarily place children just after they’ve been taken from their homes in abuse and neglect case, Riikonen said.

The shelter also would be used by children who are homeless but cannot enter a homeless shelter because they are not with parents or guardians, Riikonen said. Signs would go up throughout the county where kids in crisis could find a referral to the shelter.

Young people would be able to stay up to 10 days under state guidelines, and longer in some cases, he said.

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