Organization works to help Valley's homeless teens

- Kicked out of his home in January because he was gay, Tyler Watkins walked across the street and asked his neighbor for help.

"It was very scary and frightening, but at the same time it was like the future was unknown, but in a weird way it was a blessing," he said.

A blessing that his neighbor introduced him to -- Homeless Youth Connection. It's an organization that works with homeless high school students to keep them on the right path.

"With HYC in their lives we actually last year served 120 kids and of those 112 graduated," Dawn Bogart said.

Those are staggering numbers, considering 75 percent of homeless teens are unable to graduate from high school, according to Bogart, who's executive director at Homeless Youth Connection.

Tyler is one of the lucky ones, benefiting from an organization that gave him the clothing, school supplies and counseling that he needed. 

Thanks to a new host family program, more teens will now get a roof over their heads.

"Individuals from the community come in and host the kids and we provide the case management," Bogart said.

The goal was to get 23 host families, but the community went above and beyond with 44 families willing to take homeless youth in. Allstate also stepped up to help pay for the added cost.

It's an investment, Kevin Lum says, that will benefit generations.

"It's a good cycle to start at versus someone who's more advanced in age, but if we start with our youth, they're important to our society," he said.

Allstate presented the $25,000 grant to a crowd of beaming students. One of them, Tyler, is planning on being a Sun Devil in the fall.

"At the end of the day, it is about hope, and these organizations give hope," he said.

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