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The Spot at Vita Nova providing help for homeless young adults

Rise in homeless youth has increased between 25 and 30 percent, experts say
The Spot at Vita Nova
Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 22:52:10-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The housing crisis and job loss during the pandemic have ripple effects affecting families, but also impacting the youth, who are old enough to be on their own, but at times end up homeless. A local organization is helping those individuals.

“I aged out of care at the age of 18 and I decided it would be a good idea to move back in with my mother, not a good idea," said Sophia Coffey.

Nineteen-year-old Coffey says they were at risk of losing their home.

"I wasn't worried about school,” she said. “I was more worried about where I was going to get my next meal, where am I going to sleep tonight."

For two months, Coffey didn't have a place to call home. Then she found out about Vita Nova, which helps homeless youth.

"They started telling me OK, so we have all of these classes now you can do,” she said. “I started doing my life skills training."

This haven for youth is called The Spot at Vita Nova.

"The Spot is our drop-in center for our homeless youth ages 18 through 25," said Robbrianna Johnson.

Johnson says they've seen an increase in homeless young adults, between 25 and 30 percent recently.

“For the last year, we served over 350 youth and this year alone we have served over 40 unduplicated youth," said Johnson.

Experts say a number of factors have contributed to the increase of homeless young adults.

"Their family member lost employment, they lost their housing, they are living in their car, and some family members cannot take on the load of another person."

Helping the youth find a place to stay.

However, there are resources.

"They can go to a shelter, they can be placed in a rapid re-housing program, transitional housing," said Johnson.

At The Spot, youth have access to computers for schoolwork and a music room. They can even wash their clothes at the facility.

"We keep laundry detergent on standby, so that's one thing they don't have to worry about, They can come wash, dry their clothes, or if they need new clothes, we have an employment closet that has casual clothing and interview type clothing that they are welcome to take from."

The Spot aims to reduce the number of homeless youth by providing a safe transition to independence for former foster care.

"The harder that we work, we try to circumvent it so that way our youth aren't going back on to the streets,” said Johnson, “but it's heartbreaking, we see a new youth every day."

The Spot also has supports groups for the teens to talk freely.

For more information about The Spot at Vita Nova, click here or call 561-689-0035.