A. Hatton has found stability since arriving at TGTHR, an organization that provides services to youth experiencing homelessness, a little over a year ago.
They are attending classes at Front Range Community College, have made more friends and plan to start a part-time job. Hatton wants to become a tattoo artist.
“Being here means I”m not on the streets,” said the 19-year-old, who goes by their first initial.
Hatton, who was born in Wyoming, was experiencing homelessness in Denver when someone told the then-18-year-old about an organization in Boulder that could help them.
Now they live in a fully-furnished apartment provided by TGTHR. It has a mini-fridge, dishwasher and stove.
“You get your own shower; your own bathroom,” Hatton said, adding, “It’s been pretty nice, especially compared to where a lot of us were before. For me, it’s brought a lot of community. I’ve made a lot more friends.”
The nonprofit organization was created in 1966 to help teenagers and young adults experiencing homelessness. At the time, there weren’t many places for young people to go when they left home so they were sent to adult centers, spokeswoman Alex Bergland said.
The organization was called Attention Homes before changing its name to TGTHR in February.
In the decades since its creation, TGTHR has evolved to meet the needs of the community. The organization, which serves people aged 12 to 24, now has an emergency shelter, a 40-unit apartment building and a transitional housing program. It also offers a host of other services, such as employment assistance, family coaching and support groups.
“The reality is that at the end of the day, if we are not here, where will they go to get support and help?” Bergland said. “If we can intervene at an early age and help young people that are struggling with their mental health, with their housing, with education, with employment… we can end the cycle of homelessness.”
The need for TGTHR has only increased since the pandemic. Its daytime center has become busier and its housing waitlist is full, she said.
The organization served 435 people in 2020 and expects to surpass 400 people this year, Bergland said.
“There is definitely a need out there and I think COVID is exacerbating that for sure,” she said.