NewsMagic Valley


Local organization helps young adults struggling with homelessness

Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 18:52:41-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Homelessness is a growing issue across Idaho as inflation continues to rattle many communities.

This has lead to an increase in more young adults coming out of foster care becoming homeless. With little to no alternatives, many young adults have no place to turn.

The Twin Falls Optimist Youth House (TFOYH) wants to change the trajectory of young adults facing homelessness and has a program that hopes to be replicated nation-wide. What began as a concept in 2015 has now helped address the growing young adult homeless problem in the Magic Valley.

“Most people don’t understand the situation that our youth are in that either age out of foster care or for some reason they don’t have a place to live,” said Barry Knoblich, founder of the TFOYH.

The house offers a two-year program for adults ages 18-23 which helps people in obtaining jobs, GED's, and many other things to help get them on their feet.

Kinsie Jensen is a current client of four months at the house and said her perspective on homelessness changed when she turned 18.

“I used to look at it and used to think of homeless people as old people, standing on the streets, asking for money, never knowing what they are asking for. For drugs, alcohol or anything, you know. Then I moved here, and I realized there’s a lot of youth that are homeless, too, because once the system kicks them out, they’ve got nothing,” said Jensen.

Now she hopes to possibly either pursue the military or be a physiologist to help young adults also struggling with homelessness.

Now that the program has refined its work, TFOYH Executive Director Charles Kelly hopes to see it replicated in other cities and states. This program is community driven and finding the right people to bring things to other areas of Idaho could continue addressing the state's youth homelessness issue.

“This can be replicated and done in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Boise, Coeur D'Alene, Salt Lake City, anywhere," said Kelly.

For more information on TFOYH, click here.