DAVIS COUNTY

Layton to open Teen Living Center for students with unstable housing

Oct 30, 2023, 10:00 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2023, 1:35 pm

Members of Cottonwood High School’s staff, students and parents dig during a groundbreaking event...

Members of Cottonwood High School’s staff, students and parents dig during a groundbreaking event for a teen resource center at Cottonwood High School in Murray on Thursday, June 1, 2023. A Teen Living Center will soon open in Layton. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

LAYTON, Utah — Over 1,600 children in Davis County meet the federal definition of homelessness, and 300 of those are high school students.

“That means they could live in shelters, motels, hotels, they could be in storage units, couchsurfing or any area that is not regular, fixed or adequate,” Jodi Lunt, executive director of the Davis Education Foundation, told KSL NewsRadio.

According to the foundation, only 64% of homeless students graduate. They are also 80% more likely to be chronically absent or miss 10% of classes. That then leads to higher dropout rates and lower reading levels.

That’s why the Davis Education Foundation and Davis School District are opening a new Teen Living Center in Layton.

The groundbreaking for the center was on Monday and it is scheduled to open in June of 2024.

Services the Teen Living Center provides

The foundation said the center is meant to keep students in school and offer them a safe space. It will have a kitchen, a living room and a study area. It will also provide 16 beds as transitional housing for students in need. That includes necessities like shower and laundry facilities and food.  

“Most important is wraparound services,” Lunt said. “Counseling, academic services, the ability to help place in employment, help them with FASFA paperwork and things that they might need to be able to accelerate their futures and be able to help them move into adulthood with success.”

A Utah nonprofit will offer 24/7 services at the center, providing counseling, mentoring, life skills training and career guidance. 

Lunt said students are resilient and resourceful with the potential to achieve great things. They just need a stable and nurturing environment to do so.

Students aged 12 to 18 can access the center after completing a referral process. That includes getting parent or guardian consent.

Children who use the Teen Living Center are also expected to attend school, maintain passing grades and strive towards academic, extracurricular and personal goals.

Eventually, Lunt would like to build another Teen Living Center farther south for equal accessibility in Davis School District. 

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Layton to open Teen Living Center for students with unstable housing