WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A nonprofit in West Palm Beach is now offering more services to help tackle youth homelessness.
“It was so hard, like it was so hard and I do not wish that on nobody,” said Diane Burk.
Burk says it wasn’t long ago she had nothing to be thankful for. She was living in a park, and life had hit rock bottom. But now at 19-years-old, Burk's future is coming into focus.
“They got me jobs, they housed me and right now to this day I’m in a GED program getting my high school diploma,” Burk said.
She’s talking about the nonprofit Vita Nova, and its drop-in center called, “The Spot,” which serves homeless youth by offering housing services, employment and education.
The center first opened its doors a year ago for youth 18-25. The demand is growing, and Vita Nova is now offering more services.
“Vita Nova has taken an approach to open more housing, we’ve expanded housing by 10 beds that can see 20 youth a year,” said CEO Jeff DeMario.
DeMario says there are about 2,500 homeless young adults in Palm Beach County, 40-percent of whom identify as LGBTQ.
Overall, Vita Nova helps about 300 people a year including 18-year-old Brennen Christopher.
“I can say I'm more ambitious about what I do now and I've been going back to school. They guided me and I’m on a path I’d never see myself on if I never had them in my life,” Christopher said.
'The Spot' is a safe haven that is changing lives and providing a fresh start for our youth.
Burk has a 3-year-old son, Richard, and she is now looking to pay it forward by becoming a social worker.
“I want to help people, I want to make people feel like they’re not alone like Vita Nova helped me,” Burk said.