After long search, homeless youth provider finds new home

Wind Youth Services is moving to Midtown.

After eight months of ironic real estate hunting, the region’s only service provider for homeless youth has finally found itself a new home: the third floor of an office building at 1722 J Street in Sacramento.

“It’s so central. It’s so acceptable. We’re right on the bus lines and just a couple of blocks away from Light Rail,” effused Wind development director Sarah Mullins.

Mullins noted that all those check boxes were important given Wind’s placement atop an exclusive list of shelter providers for unattended minors.

Following numerous funding setbacks and a cited need for a more centralized location, Wind shut the doors on its Old North Sacramento neighborhood drop-in center for this underserved population in May. At the time, Wind director Suzi Dotson told SN&R she and her board anticipated reopening the center in downtown or Midtown by August. But a potential landlord backed out “literally at the 12th hour,” said Mullins, and the search dragged.

That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A conversation with the owner of the building where Wind rents its administrative space led to the owner suggesting his other property at J and 17th streets. A lease was signed at the beginning of November, and the ensuing weeks have been spent remodeling the building’s third floor, where Wind will unite its drop-in center, administratve and counseling services. Mullins described significant modifications to add shower and bathroom facilities and a kitchen. If construction finishes on time, Wind will reopen for business at the new space on January 20.

“Literally everything with the exception of our shelters will be under one roof,” Mullins said. “Financially, it’s a more effective use of our resources. [Before], it was like trying to have a body with its legs across town.”

Mullins said she didn’t know the lease amount, but said it fell within their budget.

On Monday afternoon, the yellow-walled office building stood shrouded in long shadows. Set back a few feet and shouldered between The Gifted Gardener and Big Brother Comics on J Street, Wind will share the multi-floor cube with other businesses.

As for the old drop-in center on Dixieanne Avenue, it’s found a new tenant as well. Wind, which owns the building, has leased it to the Grace Network, a Sacramento-based anti-trafficking initiative. Mullins believed Grace intended to use the space as a community center for exploited minors.

In a voicemail message, Grace Network founder Chris Stambaugh told SN&R that staff spent Friday remodeling the building’s interior, which will be rechristened the Grace City Center.

The double-dose of positive news continues a recent stretch for Wind, which rebounded from the financially devastating loss of a federal grant in 2013 and has since secured funding contracts with the county of Sacramento and its probation department.

Last month, Wind opened a 6-bed shelter for transition-age youth, the majority of whom had been living on the streets for extended periods of time, Mullins said. The shelter offers case management to help clients into permanent living situations. Wind also operates a 12-bed shelter for unaccompanied minors, the only one of its kind across five counties.

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