Homeless shelter for teenage moms gets A/C units donated

Raising a child is a challenge of its own, and it’s even more difficult as a homeless teenage girl. Add summer heat, without air conditioning, and it can be downright miserable.

“It’s just so hot,” said Haylie Caldwell, a teenage mother. “It’s just really hot.”

Caldwell, 17, is one of several teen moms living at Alexandria’s House, a 24-hour shelter operated by Volunteers of America.

“With the emotions already high, adding the heat stress on top of that doesn’t help anything out,” said John Robertson, Assistant Director of Homeless Youth Programs for Volunteers of America. “It’s really hard to stay focused.”

Even after the sun goes down, the bedrooms on the building’s second and third floors can be uncomfortable.

“Sometimes he’ll wake up just sweating,” said Caldwell of her nine-month old son Merced. “Even with the fan, it still gets hot.”

On Wednesday night, however, Caldwell and Merced didn’t have to worry about the hot temperatures inside the shelter.

When Rick Clark realized these girls were living without air conditioning, he knew he had to do something.

“If you’re living in a house with teenage girls, and it’s hot – I know from experience, I raised three of them – that it’s not a fun place to be,” said Clark.

That’s why Clark posted to Facebook, asking people to donate new and used A/C units.

“Within 36 minutes we had five air conditioners ready to go,” Clark said.

Now there are close to ten A/C units, and on Wednesday Ace Hardware donated a brand new unit. It really was Christmas in July for the girls, and while Rick wasn’t dressed like Santa Claus, he sure felt like him.

“Just being able to relieve everybody here and provide some comfort, it just makes my heart swell,” Clark admitted. “I just couldn’t be happier.”

Volunteers of America operates dozens of other shelters across the city. They could still use some more air conditioners, as well. If you have an extra one you’re ready to part with, you can drop it off at the Crosswalk Youth Shelter in downtown Spokane.