To the editor:

The Youth Empowerment Shelter (Y.E.S. house) was forced to close their doors to the six youth currently staying there on Jan. 25 because they do not have a commercial-grade sprinkler system installed.

These youth are at greater risk out on the street than living in a home without a commercial grade sprinkler system.

Apparently the Y.E.S. house has been experiencing a lot of slow bureaucratic communication and understanding of what the DHS shelter regulations are with regard to the type of sprinkler system required.

This is a residential home, 514 E. 9th Street, The Dalles. Commercial grade sprinkler systems, requiring city water supply upgrades too, can cost twice as much as residential systems.

The Y.E.S. house is licensed by Oregon DHS under Chapter 413, Division.

One way you can help them out is by contacting the DHS Shelter Licensing office in Salem 503-373-2195 and telling them the Y.E.S. house is urgently needed — please hasten the process!

The mission of the shelter is to provide youth in crisis a place of physical and emotional safety while assisting them to build positive relationships and develop their individual potentials. Check out their website at www.yeshelter.org. You may also make donations online to help.

Susan Stelzer

The Dalles

Susan Stelzer is a mentor with Gorge Youth Mentoring (formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters).

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