The Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, a local nonprofit that provides emergency housing and services for homeless youth, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.
The news disappointed supporters, donors and clients who’ve counted on Tumbleweed to provide necessary services for runaway and homeless youth in the valley since 1972. To avoid a lapse in services, Tumbleweed is in the process of finding other nonprofits to take over its programs, such as UMOM New Day Centers, which is currently the largest homeless shelter in the state. At Tumbleweed, homeless youth age 12-25 could seek services such as housing, education, counseling, showers, laundry service, food and job training.
According to court documents, Tumbleweed experienced a series of staff leadership changes in the fall of 2016. Once new leadership came aboard, the center’s dire financial situation quickly came to light, revealing a combination of problems including financial reporting inaccuracies, anticipated reimbursement of government grants that never came and a subsequent loss of future grant funding. The center was spending beyond its means, couldn’t see a way to continue operating its programs, and had no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. News of the nonprofit’s demise spread quickly after an article appeared in The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com last week; Tumbleweed is one of the agencies supported through The Arizona Republic’s annual Season for Sharing donation campaign.
Although Tumbleweed’s main facility is in Phoenix, it has also maintained a walk-in resource center in downtown Tempe for years.
Paula Adkins, Tumbleweed’s Interim CEO, wrote the following message to its supporters:
We are so grateful for those of you who expressed concern about recent media coverage concerning Tumbleweed’s decision to file for a Chapter 11 re-organization petition.
We are gratified that the media have taken an interest in our restructuring, designed to ensure the long-term continuity of Tumbleweed’s services.
Tumbleweed is grateful for the past and present support of our many generous donors. As noted in the article, your funding has allowed us to continue serving the homeless and vulnerable youth of the Valley–as we have for many years–while Tumbleweed uses a Chapter 11 process to ensure that the programs you have supported generously will survive long into the future.
We will be happy to share with you information about the developments in our restructuring as they are confirmed over the next several weeks. We trust that you share our commitment to the future of Tumbleweed’s programs.