Youth on Their Own’s new location opens the doors to help more house-insecure youth find hope

Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 5:01 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - After years of developing and planning, Youth on Their Own will soon be fully operational in its new building, offering even more hope to young adults facing hardships.

According to data, the number of youth facing homelessness has skyrocketed across Arizona since the start of the pandemic. A report from last year claimed that there are close to 700 unsheltered youth across the state. However, many leaders believe this number is actually much higher.

Anne Young, the founder of Youth on Their Own, is grateful for the support the non-profit has received throughout the years.

“It’s absolutely wonderful, I’m just absolutely astounded and couldn’t be happier,” Young said.

Every single year, “Youth on their Own” assists around 1,500 unhoused youth every year in southern Arizona.

The brand new facility, which was once the University of Visual Arts building, is giving YOTO the chance to help even more teens and young adults who are housing insecure in Tucson.

“We were giving out $100 grants to over several hundred kids,” Young said. “Every month, I was terrified that we wouldn’t have enough money.”

Young said Angel Charity for Children is a big reason why YOTO has been able to help so many youths in southern Arizona throughout the years. She adds they even donated over $700,000 towards the project.

“They’ve been through thick and thin,” Young said. “They have given us the grants that we really needed. I truly believe have I not gotten that first grant I don’t even know if we would be here now.”

Elizabeth Slater, the CEO of Youth on Their Own, said the new building is bigger than the current space. She believes this will allow the organization to help even more youth facing hard times.

Although no set timeline has been mentioned, Slater said the plan is to expand services in the future

“We really designed this for our youth. They gave a lot of input on the kind of space they wanted and what they needed,” Slater said. We really want them to feel ownership and have a place where they belong. "

According to Slater, the new space has been in the works for years. She tells 13 News the ribbon cutting, which was on October 26, 2023, marks a new era for YOTO.

“We started looking for properties about five years ago,” Slater said. “We found this one and we bought this two years ago. It’s taken about a year to renovate. This has been really just a community effort and so many people have chipped in to make it possible.”

Seeing the non-profit grow from helping ten kids at each high school in Tucson to now serving thousands is something Young still can’t believe.

“That was my early goal and now look at it,” Young said.

Youth on Their Own will close the doors to its building on Alvernon on Monday, October 30, 2023. They will be fully operational in the building in early November.

YOTO will give the community the chance to see the new space. Leaders will host a series of open houses. They are on November 11, 18, and Dec. 2. from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at 2525 N. Country Club Road.

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