Homelessness isn’t just a problem in the urban centers, but also exists in conservative wealthy areas like Collin County. Elevate North Texas provides a safe, affirming environment through access to immediate shelter and reunification with family, when possible. Brian and Colman sit down with executive director Jason Vallejo to hear his vision to bring hope to homeless LGBTQ youth.

Jason Vallejo is the Founder & Executive Director of Elevate North Texas – Youth Emergency Shelter. Elevate North Texas’ mission is to fill in the gap of youth homelessness with emergency shelter. They provide a safe, affirming environment through access to immediate shelter and reunification with family, when possible. Jason founded Elevate North Texas in 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic that we know as COVID-19. He saw a gap in the homeless system when it came to youth who were between the ages 18 to 24. While North Texas had transitional living programs for youth in this age range, he knew that there was still no emergency shelter for these youth that would meet the immediate need of youth experiencing homelessness.

Jason created three core programs that will allow Elevate North Texas to provide emergency shelter for youth, 18 to 24, experiencing homelessness:

1. Hotel Voucher Program: They partner with several hotels here in North Texas to provide hotel vouchers for those youth in immediate need of shelter.

2. Host Home Program: They work with trusted families that have a spare room to host a pre-screened youth for up to four months. During this time, youth are provided case management, counseling, and life skills training.

3.Reunification Program: They work to reunite youth with family members, when possible, to avoid them entering the homeless system. They also understand that many youth are fleeing abusive and toxic home environments, which is why they emphasize the “when possible.”

Prior to the founding of Elevate North Texas, Jason was Executive Director of Dallas Hope Charities from November 2017 to January 2020. He led the organization in the creation of the first LGBTQ+ focused transitional living program called Dallas Hope Center. It started with two beds and when he left in 2020 it had grown to six beds.

Jason is active in the community serving on the Metro Dallas Youth Committee, LULAC of Dallas, North Texas Human Trafficking Coalition and Dallas LGBTQ Chamber. Prior to moving to Dallas in 2017 Jason was the Outreach Director at a mega church in South Texas. He led the efforts in feeding the homeless and providing back to school supplies for over 3,000 youth.

Jared and his husband now live in Plano, Texas and have a dog named Sophie. They enjoy going to movies, Broadway shows, playing golf and working on projects around the house.