Clayton County youth shelter struggles to find long-term employees amid staff shortages

Located on Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro, the shelter Rainbow House houses youths aged 12 to 17. (Photo via Pixabay)

As employers around the country experience labor shortages, that’s also affecting a youth shelter in Clayton County.  

Rainbow House, Inc. is a 30-year-old shelter that houses youths aged 12 to 17. 

The shelter has been short on staff, according to Executive Director Mia Kimber.

She’s overseen the daily ins and outs of the shelter for a year now. Her need for workers has put her in a position to wear “many hats” around the shelter. 

Kimber had to take on the role of chef one evening and prepare a spaghetti dinner for the teens.

“Our children here have come from very traumatic backgrounds. So giving them just anything is not acceptable,” she said. 

The pandemic has impacted the number of workers the shelter hired. The shelter’s employment process is unique and “strategic” due to the teens and their backgrounds, according to Kimber. 

The teens at Rainbow House have been placed there after hardship in their family life.

“They have been removed from their home, whether it was for physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment,” she said.

Kimber wants employees who “will stay long-term.” She hopes they will also be role models and motivate the teens at the shelter. 

“It’s our goal to make it the best place to be for children,” she said. 

Labor shortages are not only happening at Rainbow House. Other shelters in Florida and North Carolina are having similar issues. 

Rainbow House is currently full at 20 teens. The shelter has turned away those in need due to the lack of staff and space. 

Kimber is reaching out to the local Clayton County community for support and volunteers while searching for long-term employees.