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Rock County project still helping homeless teens

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 23, 2012
What it is: Project 16:49 was born four years ago with the goal of providing a safe place for homeless Rock County teens.

The project is named after the film, “Sixteen Forty-Nine,” which represents the 16 hours and 49 minutes between school ending one day and starting the next. For homeless kids, those can be the longest hours of their day. The documentary was made by director R.E. Burgos and tells the story of homeless teens in Rock County.


The project would include homes in Beloit and Janesville and case management services for young men and women ages 16 to 21 so they can finish high school and learn adult responsibilities.


Project 16:49 is run by the Homeless Education Action Team, a subcommittee of the Rock County Homeless Intervention Task Force. The team is made up of nearly two-dozen local and area service providers and residents.


Ann Forbeck, homeless liaison for the Janesville School District, and Robin Stuht, homeless coordinator for the Beloit School District, are team co-chairs.


What’s the progress: The team is in a “quiet phase” of the fundraising, said Jeff Bealles, fund development director at YWCA Rock County, which is the lead agency of Project 16:49

Properties that could be used as homes are being identified in Beloit and Janesville before the launch of the public phase of the capital campaign.


What’s next: Working with potential donors. Meetings in early February will dictate when the capital campaign is launched.
Money raised to date: $125,000.
Cost: About $1.2 million. That would include three years of funding for two homes to serve a total of about 25 kids per year, staffing, food, travel, upkeep, renovation and licensing. Organizers plan to apply for grants and find donors to fund activities in the future, Bealles said.
Targeted completion date: By the end of 2012.
How to donate: Send donations to YWCA Rock County in care of Project 16:49, 1735 S. Washington St., Janesville, WI 53546.
For more information: Go online to project1649.org; contact Forbeck, Stuht or any members of the team; or call Bealles at (608) 752-5445 Ext. 206. He welcomes invitations to speak about the project.

A public Project 16:49 presentation, question and answer session plus the showing of the documentary film, will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St., Janesville.



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