Best of Business top vote-getter: Huckleberry House

Virginia Brown
The Huckleberry House team

Every year in the Columbus region, 3,000 youths, ages 12 to 24, are homeless. “These are youths who belong to all of us, if we are truly going to be a community,” says Sonya Thesing, executive director of Huckleberry House, a nonprofit that provides homeless teens and young adults with critical housing and support.

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Couple that harrowing statistic with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and you’ve got one busy nonprofit. “Stay-at-home orders have been challenging, to say the least, for the average among us,” Thesing says. “But when ‘home’ is a car, or an overpass over the railroad tracks, or an alley—that’s not a place to be in a Covid lockdown.”

Through its crisis center, transitional living, counseling center, and other outreach programs, “Huck House” has provided solutions to homelessness since 1970. “Homelessness isn’t always income-driven,” Thesing explains. “The underlying commonality is a breakdown in relationships,” she says.

For Thesing, there’s a social justice element to the work done at Huckleberry House. “This work matters so much because, somewhere down the line, [these youths] didn’t get something that they needed, that other people did get,” Thesing says. “Our work is not nearly done.”

Virginia Brown is a freelance writer.