INDIANAPOLIS Ind. — It once was an abandoned building on Indy’s near east side, but after months of renovations, a transitional home for teens is just days away from opening.
“You meet these kids that just want to be loved, that want to have families,” explained 91 Place Founder Jenna Shaffer.
For years now, Shaffer has wanted to give Indianapolis teens a chance at a successful and fulfilling life, but there’s been one major obstacle.
“There’s only one other transitional housing program in all of Indianapolis. They do amazing work, but they only have eight beds,” she explained.
That’s when Shaffer got her own idea to open a home.
“I’ve had dozens of youth where I was like if you just had a safe place to live and a family to love you, the world is your oyster,” she said.
Earlier this year, Shaffer teamed with the nonprofit Global Illumination to make her vision a reality.
“We are not here to fix anyone. We’re just here to come alongside them and believe in them,” Shaffer added.
91 Place will offer the youth a two-year intensive program. Those still in high school will be required to attend class. Those who have graduated will have to learn a trade skill then find a job.
Organizers still need to raise about $90,000 to begin their full program. That includes four youth and two house parents.
The home is set to open by Christmas.