Last week was a humbling reminder of the challenges our community faces when it comes to housing and transitioning to independent living. It's not always sweet, but it is a little easier when you have someone in your corner.
Jenny is counting down the weeks until she turns 18. It's usually such a celebrated birthday, but this one is different. She's trying to figure out how to stay in school, provide for a child with special needs, work, and look for an apartment when nobody will consider her just yet because she isn't 18. She's racing against the clock.
18 is when she has to be out.
Out of her family's home and on her own.
She is scared.
Caitlin connected with me through a local church. She is in an unsafe situation with her 8-month old son, and has nowhere to turn. Every call we make is met with the same answer, "We don't have space".
She looks to me for answers I don't have.
There is anger and there are tears. I am quiet and listen as she asks why nobody will help her.
She is weary.
Five years ago, Danae gave birth and shortly thereafter applied for housing. She has been couch surfing and still managed to graduate from high school. On top of that she has been dealing with the foster care system and fighting deep depression.
Last week she received the call...there is an apartment.
She says she will no longer have to worry about her physical safety or who is going through her things. This apartment means she is one step closer to reunification with her child.
She proudly tells me the local pantry helped her fill her cupboards, but she has no way to open the cans of food.
It doesn't seem like a big deal to purchase a can opener except she depleted her savings to get into this apartment.
She is stumped.
Three different girls. Three different stories related to housing. The girls have been working on goals during our life skills courses. They are learning to pull trusted friends into the mix to help rework the plan when they encounter obstacles. Oftentimes the girls pull in mentors.
A mentor encourages her to stay the course and offers to look at apartments together.
A mentor encourages her to make one more call after hearing no ten times.
A mentor hears about food insecurity and says, let’s go to the pantry together and makes sure she has a can opener.
Several girls are waiting for a mentor.