There are more than 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school who are homeless throughout Denton County. Kyle’s Place aims to provide shelter, support and transition help to some of the area’s homeless youth.
Nonprofit Journey to Dream opened Kyle’s Place at 1960 Archer Way in Lewisville on May 19. The shelter can provide beds and other accommodations for 14 students of high school age at a time.
“We don’t have anything in Denton County for kiddos, for teenagers,” Executive Director and Founder Kim Hinkle said. “Most of them don’t identify as homeless. They won’t say they’re homeless. They kind of sofa surf.”
The Lewisville shelter has a multipurpose room for support groups, art therapy and workshops. The rest of the building is set up like a home, complete with a kitchen, bathrooms, a family area, a basketball hoop and bedrooms with two twin beds per room.
Hinkle said the nonprofit got a lot of pushback when the center looked at establishments in or around residential areas. A friend texted Hinkle and told her about a building for sale in a light industrial area.
The building was originally the stead for the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County. Journey to Dream purchased it from Special Abilities of North Texas.
Journey to Dream provides prevention programs to Lewisville ISD high schools, working with students affected by depression, pregnancy or drugs and alcohol and teaching life skills. The nonprofit also does assemblies for middle schools in the district.
Kyle’s Place was opened in honor of Kyle Milliman, a former Journey to Dream student.
“We lost him in 2012 to depression,” Hinkle said. “We wanted to do something immediately in his honor. About the same time we started talking about that, I started hearing that we had homeless kiddos in our district.”
Hinkle said she found out there are about 1.6 million homeless youth across the country, 1 in 3 of whom are lured into prostitution within 48 hours of hitting the street. Every year about 5,000 homeless youth die, she said.
About 400 of the 2,100 in Denton County are of high school age. Students who stay at Kyle’s Place have to be in high school or working towards some form of graduation. The center hopes to help students get into the military, college or trade schools.
Kyle’s Place is currently seeking monthly partners for its Show the Love campaign. Its goal is to get 500 individuals and 50 organizations to participate in this year-long campaign. Donations collected go towards housing teens 365 days a year.
“It’s our big push this year to raise and secure the funds required to operate the shelter,” Hinkle said.
While Hinkle said students can call 469-470-2382 to make an appointment to see if the center is for them, she said she’s sure that some of those who come to the shelter will show up at the door or possibly with police. Kyle’s Place will accommodate whichever situation, she said.