16 Hours and 49 Minutes: The time between school ending one day and starting the next
Project 16:49 is a local non-profit organization serving Rock County’s unaccompanied homeless teens. We believe every child deserves an opportunity to succeed. To that end, Project 16:49 ensures access to the services and support these students need to remain in school, graduate and become self-sufficient adults.
After a Year of Homelessness, a Young Family Finds Stability
On March 27, Abby, Caleb and their 1-year-old son slept in their own home for the first time. After a year of couch surfing or sleeping in attics, and most recently, living in their car, they finally have a place they can call home, thanks to the new youth Rapid Rehousing Program.
Abby and Caleb were referred to Project 16:49 by Head Start in Beloit, and enrolled in our Rapid Rehousing Program on March 1. Both youth work part-time jobs and attend high school. Caleb is graduating early from Fresh Start. The young couple’s journey through homelessness finally ended when ECHO’s housing navigator secured them a 3-bedroom duplex. It marked the first time either of them had signed a lease, and provides their 1-year-old son his first bedroom. More importantly, they have a safe place to bring home their new baby, born on St. Patrick’s Day. Now with a stable foundation, this young family is excited to start working on their bigger goals.
Project 16:49, in collaboration with ECHO, recently expanded its services to offer Rapid Rehousing to youth experiencing homelessness. This new program is part of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, a nationwide initiative to end youth homelessness in communities across the country. The program provides up to 24 months of rent assistance, case management and supportive services. Participants create personalized goal plans to achieve self-sufficiency and work toward becoming independent young adults.
–Youth’s names have been changed
See The Difference We (YOU!) Made In 2022
Many of us start the new year with a reflection of the previous one and setting intentions or resolutions for the months ahead. At our first staff meeting of 2023, our staff revisited 2022 by answering the question, “What are six adjectives that best describe the past year?” and renewed our commitment to living the shared Team Values we had created while group reading Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead. Part of that commitment is to share with you the values we find most important to our daily work:
Wholeheartedness – “Leading with our whole heart”
Collaboration – “Fostering a spirit of collaboration in all that we do”
Accountability – “Being accountable to each other, the youth we serve, and our community”
For more information on what our values look like in action, click here.
After two years of missed events due to COVID-19, the 2023 return of the Lip Sync Battle was a resounding success for Project 16:49.
Thanks to nine teams of performers, numerous sponsors and raffle donors, over 500 attendees and a great army of volunteers, over $60,000 was raised at the event. This total was over 50% more than the previous high for this event. The revenue is critical in providing life-changing support and opportunities for Rock County’s homeless youth.
A team representing Kennedy Elementary School in Janesville, the “Kennedy Rockettes,” took the Overall Champion and Crowd Favorite awards, while the “Festival Foodies” from Festival Foods won the Audience Choice Award. The Kennedy Rockettes previously won in 2017 and 2019, while this was Festival’s debut performance.
One of the challenges some of our unaccompanied youth face is that, prior to turning 18, they cannot receive medical or mental health care without the signature of a parent. What happens when they won’t sign?
A powerful article featuring Dezy, a girl we are serving, appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel December 1 and describes the surprising hurdles these young people face, and what needs to be done to remove these obstacles.
Learn more about Project 16:49’s current needs and happenings, and find out how you can support Rock County’s homeless youth by attending or supporting one of our upcoming events and fundraisers. AND for the first time, you can watch the 2010 film Sixteen Forty-Nine that led to our organization being formed.