Budget cuts hurt shelters for D.C.'s homeless, runaway kids

Deborah Shore, founder of Sasha Bruce House, talks with ABC7.

At Sasha Bruce House, a D.C. homeless shelter for youth, they're sounding an alarm for runaways and homeless teens because an increasing number have to sleep in dangerous places because of budget cuts.

The 40-year-old organization that helps homeless and at risk youth says recent city budget cuts hurt.

"There’s only a few of us in the city that are doing this work and so we feel very compelled to continue to do it and to not lose ground, but we have to have the partnership of the city government," says Deborah Shore, founder of Sasha Bruce House.

The shelter takes kids in and then tries to find independent living for them. Sometimes police will bring homeless kids there, rather than arrest them.

Today, Sasha Bruce House made some kids available to talk to ABC7.

"My father's currently locked up and my mother is deceased," one kid says.

"I came here after I was kicked out of the house with nowhere else to stay," one says.

"The detectives, they helped me find a place to stay so I can have somewhere to go because I was homeless,” one kid says. “I was going house to house or like staying in hotels."

"I was sleeping in apartment buildings and laundromats, sleeping in cars, breaking the law, just so I could feed myself," one kid says.

Some kids as young as 12 just show up there.

This week they've had to turn away 19 homeless youth seeking shelter for the night because the beds were already take by other homeless youths.

Mayor Vincent Gray once ran a similar program himself, called Covenant House. At a youth government conference today, he mentioned his plans to direct part of the city's surplus to housing.

"We hope to be able to create some opportunities for young people as part of the expenditure of those dollars," Gray says.

At Sasha Bruce House, they say with more homeless youth and less funding, "it's sort of like a tsunami."