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Center offers resources for homeless young Central Texas adults

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A warm bed, shelter and food in the fridge are things that can be taken for granted at times, but they can be hard to access for homeless young adults in the community.

The DOBEY Center, or the Drop-in Opportunities Bolstering Engagement for Young Adults in the Heart of Texas, is a support center run by the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center and the Klaras Center for Families.

The center opened earlier this month and offers a variety of resources for young adults ages 18 to 24. Homeless youth can come in for something as simple as laundry or something to eat, or they can get help with things like job applications and housing forms.

Nicole Wiscombe, the project director for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, said these kinds of resources are important for people this age because this is a big transition time. Wiscombe said that includes learning about how to balance a checkbook, or even get a bank account, how to find an apartment and how to get connected to higher education opportunities.

“We have life skills courses here to help them with that, help get them connected with higher education, training, things like that to help them be successful,” Wiscombe said. “Also doing connections to employment services, workforce development, things like that.”

Ron Kimbell, division director for Klaras Center for Families, said growing up can be hard for anyone.

“But if you’re challenged with behavioral health issues, if you’re challenged with housing insecurity or homelessness, those issues are magnified,” Kimbell said.

Wiscombe said the center is a safe space where people can come for support. There are peer specialists available who have been homeless themselves.

“They help them learn how to navigate through life and see through role modeling basically that they have the ability to make it through to the other side,” Wiscombe said.

While there are a lot of resources available to help in the community, Wiscombe said it can be difficult to access help if you don’t know where to go or how to do it. A lack of transportation is also a problem.

The DOBEY Center brings together all those resources in one place, and serves as a way to connect people to what they need.

The DOBEY Center is located at 2111 Austin Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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