In Their Own Words: Homeless Youth
In July 2018, Miriam’s House expanded the homeless population served through our Community First program by focusing not only on households with children but also serving unaccompanied youth. Since that time, we have worked with 28 homeless young people to provide them support and a second chance. The youth population is especially vulnerable while living on the streets as they are much more likely than others to be exploited, trafficked and harmed. Our Community First program has provided these young people with housing and the supports for them to live independently. Over the course of the last year, Central Virginia has seen a 72% decrease in homeless youth as a result of this successful intervention.
Before joining the Community First program last fall, 20 year-old Renee had been living outside for nearly two years. Renee’s teen years had been complicated and painful, as she was in foster care for most of her childhood. When she aged out of foster care, she overcame significant challenges as she tried to figure out life on her own. Community First helped get her into her own apartment and connected her with support services for her mental and emotional health, job training, tenancy skills, and more. The comfort and safety of having her own place allowed Renee to experience stability and build trust with her support team. Last month she got a job with a local catering company and is enjoying being able to work toward financial independence. She smiled as she shared:
19-year-old Terrence, another formerly homeless youth served through our Community First program, shared:
We are thrilled to be making a difference in these young people’s lives and are grateful for your support which has allowed us to expand the number of homeless persons served each year.