St. George drop-in center, home for 'Lost Boys' opens

Desert Morning News/October 4, 2007

A home for teens who have been kicked out of or run away from the Fundamentalist LDS Church will open today, but no one will be allowed to live there for at least a few weeks — if not months.

That's because bureaucratic red tape in St. George has stalled efforts to get the drop-in center for the so-called "Lost Boys" properly licensed and zoned.

"It takes too long to do the right thing," said Michelle Benward, who is helping to put together the home. "I'm hopeful they'll make the right decision for these kids and quickly, because we need this."

Benward, the clinical director for the nonprofit social service group New Frontiers for Families, has been trying to get the home opened to shelter the Lost Boys. An anonymous donor bought the house and made it a donation for the teenagers.

The eight-bedroom "house just off Bluff," as it's called, is a former care center for senior citizens. Many of the teenage boys who will now be living there have put in hours of labor to remodel it, so it can serve as a combination drop-in center and sometime-housing. Skilled in construction, they have put in new flooring, new appliances, new fixtures and new paint. Community donations have filled the home with furniture.

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