Funding cuts means fewer services at Sherman homeless shelter - - No One Gets You Closer

Funding cuts means fewer services at Sherman homeless shelter


SHERMAN -- Funding cuts means fewer services at a local homeless shelter that keeps teens off the streets.

On any given day, the North Texas Youth Connection is putting a roof over the heads of about two dozen teenagers.

Thursday, it announced that number will soon be cut down because financially, executive director Sharon Watson says it has no other option.

Watson says the a boy named James Carlson started the organization. She says Carlson was found living out of a cardboard box in Sherman in the 1970's by a group of women who went on to found the organization.

"The North Texas Youth Connection was established for runaway and homeless youth ages 10-17," Watson siad. 

Nearly four decades later, the Youth Connection is still giving teens in Sherman and Denison a place to live while they attend school.

But Thursday, the organization announced it is ending two of its programs because of funding cuts.

"This announcement is very, very hard to make because we were doing such good work," Watson said. "Financially, we came to the point that we could not support them and rather than continue to struggle with trying to keep four or five programs open, we decided to come back to our core program."

One program being phased out is the Transitional Living Program in Denison.

It keeps teens from being put out on the street when they turn 18.

The other program to go is a counseling service for at-risk youth.

Workers at Youth Connection's headquarters on Lamar Street in Sherman are now making room to consolidate the two locations.

"Spring cleaning, tidying things up," youth advisor Brian Steele said. "Getting kids that are already here letting them know that there are kids coming in."

Watson says the organization had been living on a shoestring budget for months but decided to make the cuts April 1, when she found out it wouldn't receive a $200,000 federal grant used to pay for the programs.

The shelter in Sherman will remain open.

Other arrangements are being made for those involved in the programs being cut.

To donate, visit the North Texas Youth Connection website.