SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A non-profit that helps homeless teens is in search of a new home.
Stand Up for Kids Silicon Valley found out the lease on their current building isn't being renewed. Now, they're hoping to find a new space before the holidays.
For the last five years, their building on E. Hedding Street in San Jose has been a safe space for homeless teens.
Stand Up for Kids has about 100 young people come through the doors each week.
But suddenly, Stand Up For Kids is finding itself without a home. Their new landlords have chosen not to renew the lease. They have until November 30 to move out.
"We're devastated. It came as a complete shock. And it's just not enough time to find something," Executive Director Michele Huntzinger said.
They asked for an extension just to get through the holidays, among the toughest times for homeless teens, but the landlords denied it.
In a statement, both landlords Robert and Mikaila Foster said, "Stand Up for Kids has been an excellent tenant throughout the last 5 years and a valuable resource for at-risk youths and the homeless population throughout San Jose. Unfortunately, due to alternate plans involving the property including making necessary renovations, we were unable to renew their lease and had to move in a different direction. We wish them the absolute best and will continue to support such a fine non-profit organization. Although they will no longer be our tenants, we plan on continuing to donate to this worthy cause and make the transition to a new property convenient for all others."
Huntzinger said, "I put a lot of weight on my shoulders. I'm responsible for these kids. They're my kids. So I need to make sure they have a place."
Stand Up For Kids is scrambling to find a new building, preferably one downtown with showers, parking and access to light rail transit. It would be open to kids in the evenings and on Saturdays.
They don't want these teens to feel abandoned.
"When I first told them the news, it's like I punched them in the stomach. Their faces... I'm like this is heartbreaking," Huntzinger said,
The volunteers said instead of being discouraged, they're hopeful that they can find a new space in time. And they say they have faith in their community.
"That they're going to come up, rise up, even if it's a tech company, an individual or just downtown San Jose, is going to help us find a place. We're putting our faith in that," Huntzinger said.
Anyone who'd like to help can reach Michele Huntzinger at firstname.lastname@example.org