Utah philanthropist to homeless teens: “we’ll help you”

Oct 27, 2022, 12:30 PM | Updated: 3:51 pm
utah teens homeless...
FILE: Woods Cross High School in Woods Cross is pictured on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On any given night across Utah, approximately 15,000 teens are looking for a place to sleep. They are among the state’s larger population of people experiencing homelessness.

In Davis County, there are 1,300 Utah teens that don’t have a place to call home. 

But  Utah philanthropists, along with state and non-profit organizations, are trying to fill the specific needs of these youth by helping to fund teen resource centers. 

Resource centers for Utah teens

One such resource center at Woods Cross High School offers showers, laundry machines, personal supplies, food pantries, the opportunity for counseling, and quiet places to do homework.

Similar resource centers can be found at Clearfield, Northridge, Layton, Mountain High, and Renaissance Academy high schools. Soon teen resource centers will be located at Viewmont, Syracuse, and Bountiful high schools as well.

Two of Utah’s leading philanthropists, the Jon M. Huntsman Foundation and the Larry H. and Gail Miller Foundation, recently donated $1 million to help fund these centers in the Davis School District. Gail Miller admitted that the need is great as she spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic on Thursday.


“They need our help. They need all the resources they can get. Where else would they go?” Miller asked.

If we don’t stop the problem in that age group, how is it going to magnify as they grow up and have children and don’t have the resources they need, or, don’t even know how to get them?”

How the Utah public can help

If the topic of children and teenagers in need has the general public in Utah wondering how they can help, Miller said, that’s easy.

“They can [help] by bringing product in. Food, laundry soap, paper for the kids to do their schoolwork, and reports on. There are so many things that the communities can do.”

“Anything, anything that would help a young teenager with their high school education is welcome at any of these teen resource centers,” Miller said.

And she had a message for any youth that are experiencing homelessness right now. 

“Don’t be embarrassed, don’t be afraid to ask, don’t feel that you’re being looked down upon because everyone at some time or another needs a little help. You’re loved. You’re wanted. And we’ll help you get to where you need to be.”

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Utah philanthropist to homeless teens: “we’ll help you”