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LAGUNA BEACH : Shelter Seeks City Aid for Teen Group Home

A group that operates a youth shelter in Laguna Beach will ask the City Council on Tuesday for $100,000 to help buy a house where teen-agers needing additional help could live for as long as six months after leaving the shelter.

The transitional living center would help teen-agers with exceptional maturity, said Becky Anderson, CSP Youth Shelter’s assistant director. Both the city’s recreation director and the Housing and Human Affairs Committee are supporting the request from Community Service Programs Inc.

Project backers have found a house in the rustic Canyon Acres neighborhood, where they say six 16- to 19-year-olds could live with a youth supervisor while attending school or working part-time. The youths would receive job counseling as well as training in money management and other practical skills.

“They want them to become independent-living adults,” said recreation director Pat Barry. “If they’re successful in doing that, that’s a great program.”

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A statement from CSP Youth Shelter outlining the need for the project states that the home would help youths who have minimal options and might otherwise be lured into gangs, become criminals or develop serious emotional problems.

The program already provides emergency shelter and counseling for youngsters from troubled families, with the goal of eventually reuniting the families. The transitional living center would create a second option for teen-agers who have the maturity to care for themselves, Anderson said.

Barry is recommending that $100,000 be taken from a city fund intended to provide low-income housing in Laguna Beach. The fund had a balance of about $285,000 at the beginning of the fiscal year.

The request for city funding is linked to a matching United Parcel Service Foundation grant.

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