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Youth Homeless Shelter Closes Due to Federal Shutdown

Nonprofit agency is finding ways to accommodate the youths.

A nonprofit shelter for runaways and homeless youth will be temporarily closed due to the federal government shutdown.

Youth Bridge in Centerton furloughed 42 of its 130 employees Friday. The youths at the Centerton shelter and the young adults in supervised apartments and houses will have to be transported to the Fayetteville and Springdale Youth Bridge shelters.

Going back to a group-living facility is "definitely disruptive," executive director Scott Linebaugh said. The program trains young adults for a job and "teaches them to take care of their own shopping, their checkbook, their laundry - you'd be surprised how many people grow up without anyone showing them how to do laundry," he said.

Youth in transitional living who are also attending NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville will continue to be transported to the school to avoid further disruption, The college offers 100 percent scholarships to youth in the program.

Long-term administrators for Youth Bridge have been told there will be no back payment of $125,000 in federal money that was due to the nonprofit group in October for its "transitional living program," Linebaugh said. The program to teach young adults independent living has an yearly budget of $1.2 million.

Youth Bridge provides counseling and other services to young people affected by abuse, neglect, addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and behavioral problems. It is the only residential substance abuse program for youths in the state.
For more information on Youth Bridge, visit http://www.youthbridge.com/
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