Local non-profit to keep homeless teens off the street with family environment - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Local non-profit to keep homeless teens off the street with family environment

Chastidy Fox and Miamie Sleep have been partners in Mimi’s House since the beginning of their non-profit’s three year journey. (Brittani Wert, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — When Founder Miamie Sleep heard about the growing unaccompanied homeless youth population in Casper, she decided to take action. Enlisting the help of Director Chastidy Fox and Partner Angela Hoerner, the idea of Mimi’s House was born.

Mimi’s House will serve as a bridge between foster care and adulthood for unaccompanied homeless youth in Casper, geared towards teens aged 16 through 19, not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

But for the last three years, the organization has been a work in progress as they build a non-profit from the ground up, struggling with inadequate funding and a lack of resources.

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The biggest roadblock, Sleep explains, is “getting people to put their faith in us that it’s going to happen.” Small donations have added up over the years, though it hasn’t been enough to get the program fully off the ground. But Sleep is stubborn, as Fox describes her, and the team pushes on.

However, with a recent investor interested in purchasing a house for the organization, they may just have the push needed to get Mimi’s House up and running. If everything goes as planned, they hope to be open by the first part of 2020, ready to take in eight teens. Mimi’s House will start as a girls’ home due to their all female staff, but Fox hopes to expand with a boys’ house in the future as part of their long-term goals.

The program requires teens to be working towards some kind of education, whether that’s a GED or high school diploma, and to volunteer at times. “The way we look at it, the community is giving to them and they can help give back,” says the founder.

The kids will take on chores and responsibilities in the house, learning life skills along the way, and a ‘House Mom’ will help establish a safe, family environment.

Greta Hinderliter, the Natrona County School District liaison for homeless students, will serve as the organization’s touchpoint for getting kids into the program. “She knows which kids would be best suited for Mimi’s House,” Sleep says.

Sleep and Fox both share their appreciation for the community throughout the process. The house will be fully furnished through donations, and clothing and supplies already fill multiple storage units.

Members of the community looking to get involved with Mimi’s House through donations and volunteering can find more information on their website.

“Not only do we want to get the kids off the street and help them grow, but we want to create awareness in Natrona County that there is an unaccompanied homeless youth problem” Sleep concludes.