Tumbleweed Receives Federal Grant - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Tumbleweed Receives Federal Grant

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Members of a local group dedicated to helping runaway kids said they will now be able to help even more homeless kids in Yellowstone County.

"It can't happen soon enough." said Sheri Boelter, Executive Director of Tumbleweed Runaway Program. On Friday, the group got word they received a sizable grant from the Federal Government.

"$180,000 per year, for five years, through the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families." said Boelter.

That's a grand total of $900,000. Money Boelter said is sorely needed in Billings.

"There are between 40 and 149 homeless youths sleeping on our streets in Yellowstone County on any given night." said Boelter.

Boelter said she was grateful Tumbleweed was able to get the grant, since the program had to compete with other, similar programs across the country, in the era of government budget cuts. Tumbleweed already has plans on how to use the grant.

"We'll be able to hire two new staff people, a case manager and a youth development specialist, and we'll be able to put a youth into scattered site housing." said Boelter. The new program is called HopeLink, and according to Tumbleweed, it will be able to help up to 100 homeless youth in Yellowstone County for the next five years.

Ultimately, Boelter said she hopes HopeLink will change the lives of kids Tumbleweed is helping.

"There's nothing wrong with these kids. If they're given what they need, they'll succeed. They're pretty thrilled and really excited to be able to live on their own, and get the kind of parenting that they need." said Boelter.