The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 24, 2012

New apartments will provide homes for youths too old for foster care

JOPLIN, Mo. — Graduates of a program for homeless youth joined with representatives of Freeman Health System, Ozark Center and other local officials Tuesday morning to break ground on a new apartment complex.

Eight PATH, or Pre-Adult Transitional Housing apartments, opened in May 2010, but more are needed, officials said.

When complete in about nine months, the new, $600,000 complex will double the number of apartments available to youth in need of long-term housing and assistance in developing life skills.

“Each year, 25,000 youth age out of the nation’s foster system, after which an estimated 25 percent become homeless. Consequently, 66 percent of homeless youth report problems with substance abuse or mental illness,” Freeman Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker said during a ceremony at the Ozark Oaks Complex on South Schifferdecker.

The second PATH complex is supported by the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

During a two-year stay there, local youth ages 17 to 22 who are diagnosed with mental health disorders work on developing independent living skills, interpersonal skills and receive mental health services, said Vickie Mesler, vice president of Ozark Center.

 

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