VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) -With each passing day, the situation becomes more dire for Seton Youth Shelters. It’s an organization in Virginia Beach that saves children from being trafficked or kicked out on the streets.
You might remember when we told you last month that the Catholic Diocese of Richmond terminated the lease for the boys home run by Seton Youth Shelters. The deadline to be out of the home is December 31st.
Since our story aired, a number of people have come forward with properties for Seton to look at, but unfortunately nothing has worked with the licensing requirements the organization has to follow by the state.
“Our current space is over 4,000 square feet, and I know that’s a lot, and we’ve looked at even possibly two houses next to each other, but that total amount of about 4,500 square feet, and what’s in that space is important, too,” says Jennifer Sieracki, Executive Director of Seton Youth Shelters.
Jennifer says bedrooms have to be large enough to be safe, a house has to have enough bathrooms for the children, and stairwells need to be wide enough for children to escape during an emergency.
“(We also have) common areas that are in both of our shelters now. We have case management areas, we have counseling offices, etc. Dinning room, living room, a rec room, we realize that especially in a more short term solution that we may not find identical spaces, but we need some extra space to work with to make into those work-related spaces in the building.”
Jennifer says if Seton does not find a place for the boys, it will have to turn away children from 9-years-old up to 18 who may be homeless, trafficked, or whose families are struggling.
“It would be a disastrous situation for these children and families in our community to not have us to shelter those youth and give them the safety and the counseling that they need as we have for 30 years. There is no other place like Seton Youth Shelters in our region and without Seton Youth Shelters, these children will be on the streets, and we know, we know that when a child is on the streets for more than just a few days, their chances of being victimized skyrocket.”
If you know of a home in Virginia Beach that could be donated, or to make a monetary donation to Seton Youth Shelters, click here. There is no time to waste.
“We came into being because the community came together and found a way to make this happen. And we’re asking now, please, please, if you know of anybody who has got some property or is interested in helping us or wants to leave a legacy, and wants to help children, here is an opportunity. We would love to work with you. We would love to talk with you. We only have six months, so we just simply have got to find a solution to this problem, and we can only do that with the community’s support,” says Jennifer.