COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s a problem that might not be so obvious in Columbus. An estimated 1500 homeless youth live on the streets in Central Ohio.
Some of those in need have been getting help from a one-of-a-kind local drop-in center. Now, thanks to a new facility opening soon more help is on the way.
The Star House is the only research-based drop-in center in the country. With a new home at 1220 Corrugated Way more teens can get the help they need.
The old location on 4th street was able to serve up to 80 teens per day.
The newly renovated building will accommodate dozens more. It will be ready for anyone between the age of 14 and 24 in the next two weeks.
The Star House was born out of a research project at The Ohio State University back in 2006. It provides homeless youth with a place to stay, meals, therapy, medical care and things as basic as getting a birth certificate or help finding a job.
Executive Director of the Star House, Denitza Bentchevska explains the teens who come to the Star House come from a variety of situations.
“Many of these kids live in homeless camps, abandoned buildings, literally on the streets on benches, and sometimes coach surf from one friend’s relative’s house to another,” said Bentchevska.
Briana Bagley had been in foster care most of her life and ran away from a group home at the age of 18.
Bagley explained she was feeling desperate when she found the Star House.
“….horrible lonely, kind of irritable, didn’t really trust people. And I kind of gave it a try because I was like how worse can my life get,” said Bagley.
Bagley is doing well now and is a student at Columbus State.
Last year the Star House helped more than 700 homeless youth. This year that number is expected to rise.
The Star House is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.