The Tri-Cities could have its first drop-in teen homeless shelter open this fall.
The state's Childrens Administration approved a license for the shelter Friday that will allow teens to stay there overnight, officials confirmed.
But the two nonprofits working on the shelter still are raising operating money and looking for volunteers, organizers said.
"It's much, much closer to opening the door," said Cliff Brown, director of My Friends Place, one of the nonprofits.
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Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery and My Friends Place formed a partnership to open the shelter in a building formerly occupied by EPIC, a nonprofit group that operated a residential facility for at-risk youths until it closed in 2010 because of state budget cuts.
Safe Harbor is leasing EPIC's building on North Grant Place in Kennewick and plans to use half of the building as an overnight shelter for up to 16 teens. It would use the other half for its family support center offering resources and classes for families and parents.
Safe Harbor already has moved its family programs into the building, but it needed the state license to open the overnight shelter.
EPIC was designed as a secure place where police could bring runaway teens, but teens couldn't go there on their own -- they had to have a police referral.
The shelter planned by Safe Harbor and My Friends Place would be a drop-in shelter where teens ages 13 to 17 could choose to stay the night, but they would have to leave during the day.
Because EPIC was next door to Safe Harbor's existing location, when the building became empty it presented an opportunity for the nonprofit to expand operations. Safe Harbor negotiated a lease with EPIC for $500 a month.
Brown said now the two groups are applying for grants and planning a costume ball fundraiser on Clover Island on Oct. 29 to raise money to pay operating costs.
The two groups also are looking for a male/female couple who would stay in one of the shelter's bedrooms overnight and act as chaperones; and for people who would be willing to come help serve meals on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Donations can be sent to Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery, 1112 N. Grant Place, Kennewick, 99336, or My Friends Place at P.O. Box 4382, Pasco, 99337.
To volunteer, call Safe Harbor at 374-4901.