The Way Station is Birmingham’s 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved

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Caroline Bundy at the Way Station
Caroline Bundy of AIDS Alabama is getting ready to welcome people to the Way Station. (Bham Now)

Five years ago, a Birmingham shelter for homeless youth was just an idea in a notebook, but one that was a long time coming. Now the building is complete and the Way Station is getting ready for a ribbon cutting and open house August 4 at 4PM. Keep reading for all the details, including how you can get involved in making this long-awaited dream a life-changing reality.

Details on the ribbon cutting

Bricks at the Way Station
Bricks bought by donors to the Way Station. (Bham Now)

When: August 4, 2022, 4PM
Where: 650 3rd Avenue N, Birmingham, AL 35203

A little background on the Way Station

The Way Station supporters
So many entities worked to make the Way Station a reality. (Bham Now)

A while back, we introduced Birmingham to the Way Station, Birmingham’s only shelter for homeless youth. Many of y’all stepped forward and donated to help bring this vision to life. Then, in October 2021, AIDS Alabama broke ground on the project. Now it’s here and we can’t wait ’till it’s up and running.

While there’s still some work to do hiring and training staff plus making sure everything is ready before AIDS Alabama can open the Way Station for residents and guests, they’re hopeful that they’ll be ready by September. To get there, though, they need your support.

A behind-the-scenes tour

Common areas

  • Reception 2 The Way Station is Birmingham's 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved
  • caf scaled The Way Station is Birmingham's 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved
  • lounge scaled The Way Station is Birmingham's 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved

Reception area, Cafeteria, Lounge (AIDS Alabama)

  • Reception area
  • Cafeteria
  • Educational conference rooms + classrooms
  • Infirmary
  • Relaxation/gathering rooms

Living areas

  • Shelter side with walls The Way Station is Birmingham's 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved
  • The Way Station
  • dblroom scaled The Way Station is Birmingham's 1st shelter for homeless youth—check it out + get involved

Living areas (AIDS Alabama)

There are two main program areas in the Way Station: the emergency shelter area and the transitional housing area. In the shelter, young people can come and stay overnight, meet with a case manager, enjoy a good dinner and breakfast, take a shower and have a safe night’s sleep. In transitional housing, the young residents may stay for a period of up to two years.

  • Shelter: with 10 semi-private rooms on both the female side and the male side. Each has:
    • A window for each resident
    • A comfortable bed
    • A safe place to store their belongings
  • Transitional housing:
    • Male and female sides each have:
      • 4 double-occupancy bedrooms with an adjoining wheelchair-accessible bath
      • 2 single-occupancy bedrooms with an adjoining wheelchair-accessible bath
    • Residents are referred by One Roof, the local homelessness Continuum of Care agency, and can stay for up to two years, while they:
      • Work a care plan, including weekly meetings with social workers and case managers
      • Seek and find a job
      • Finish school, either through traditional schooling or a GED

Functional spaces

  • Clothing closet for donated clothes
  • Laundry room
  • Offices

Outdoor spaces

Half-court basketball (AIDS Alabama), Central courtyard (Bham Now), Bike racks (Bham Now)

  • Central courtyard with a family-style picnic table, bistro seating, a ping-pong table and above-ground planters
  • Outdoor area with:
    • Half-court basketball
    • Bike rack
    • Gardening
    • A chill area with a bright blue sail shade

How people will find the Way Station

the Way Station, AIDS Alabama
Entrance to the Way Station (AIDS Alabama)

I asked Caroline how homeless youth would find the Way Station, and it turns out, there are multiple ways:

  • Referrals from One Roof and other community partners
  • Street outreach
  • Word of mouth

There will be transportation to and from the Way Station—AIDS Alabama owns a fleet of vans.

Get involved—here’s how

Stay tuned for job postings. The Way Station will be hiring for a number of positions, including:

  • Social workers
  • Resident advocates
  • Kitchen manager, staff and cooks
  • Peer support specialists

Bring life to this long-awaited new building—donate today + be sure to designate the Way Station.

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Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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