According to the 2019 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered by the Office of Public Instruction, almost 5% of youth in Montana are experiencing homelessness. This is equally a problem in the Butte community to which Action Inc., a local non-profit social services organization, has dedicated resources. In particular, Action Inc. has implemented a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, supported by US Department of Housing and Urban Development funds, to provide individual, furnished apartment units for homeless youth and young adults (ages 18 to 24) in transitional life stages. The furnishing and equipping of these apartment units for basic living requires numerous items and expenses which are provided through charitable and volunteer efforts. Currently there are five individual apartment housing units.
This Rotary club project will directly assist the Homeless Youth Housing program in two ways. First, the club will provide funds to Action Inc. to purchase products that are needed for basic living in the apartment units, such as, bedding, linens, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene supplies, Vouchers for local transportation and laundry services will also be provided as needed depending on the needs of the individual tenants. Some products will be one-time expenses and others are consumable supplies or monthly needs of the youth tenants. Second, the club members will volunteer to provide manual labor at the apartment units for needed tasks such as, cleaning, moving, maintenance, and basic repairs. The volunteer needs will be variable depending on tenant turnover and associated living needs, but is estimated to average five hours per month. The specific products and volunteer effort needed will be determined at regularly scheduled monthly meetings between Action Inc. and a Rotary Club coordinator.
The project start date is planned in July 2021, to coincide with the availability of district grant funds. Funding and work schedules will be determined monthly to provide for a balance of activity and funds over the twelve-month period through June 2022. Grant funds of $2,500 are requested with a club match of $2,500. This project is a worthy opportunity for service and assistance by Butte Rotarians to benefit homeless youth in the Butte community and help to alleviate the social and economic problems being experienced by disadvantaged youth.