The Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center, a drop-in center for at-risk youth run by The Kitchen, Inc., has selected a new, larger building to better serve those who use the center to reduce the amount of time they have to spend without permanent shelter each day.
The new location at 301 N. Main Ave. is several blocks west of its current site at 215 S. Campbell Ave.
The new building was purchased through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Mission-Related Investment program. This initiative offers below-market rate investments for projects that create a “double-bottom line” of both financial and social returns for Ozarks communities, instead of investing assets solely in financial markets.
The CFO will own the building with The Kitchen having options to purchase throughout the 15-year term at a decreasing amount.
A neighborhood meeting is scheduled from 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the current Campbell Avenue location, in preparation for a rezoning request to go before the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission later in January. The building on North Main is currently zoned for Heavy Manufacturing and the new zoning would be the less intense use of Center City.
The program began in 2000 as a free drop-in center for youth ages 13-20 who are homeless or runaways. Trained staff offer food, shower facilities, clothing and laundry facilities, recreation, information about other available services, assessment to help them develop life plans, and an off-site safe emergency shelter for those aged 17-20. It also offers study and financial assistance to youth interested in pursuing their GEDs.
The Rare Breed is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday-Friday. It provides needed services, but does not provide for overnight stays, which are available elsewhere in the community.
The Kitchen sought a new location for the program because the number of youth using the Rare Breed’s services has been steadily increasing. The Youth Outreach Center averaged 58 youths each day in 2010 and the first six months of 2011; however there has been a drastic jump to 72 youths a day for the last six months.
The proposed new facility at 301 N. Main Ave. has 10,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate the number of youth who need these services.
“The Rare Breed Program provides a safe environment for young people who are faced with the challenges of life on the streets,” said Rorie Orgeron, Chief Executive Officer of The Kitchen, Inc. “This program offers hope to a young person feeling alone and scared. Without this program they would be constantly afraid, hungry, lonely, and at-risk.”
“We try to facilitate needs for the community and this allows The Kitchen to get into a much larger building for this program for really less than they are paying in lease costs and they have an option to purchase it down the line,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “We are pleased that we were able to respond to their request for assistance in finding a more suitable location for the important services they provide the at-risk youth of our community.”