Adapted from an article in Boeing News, April 2006:
After growing up in the state foster care system, 19-year-old Tasha found herself homeless and pregnant. Though challenging for anyone, she faced the added problem of needing a place to live–the shelter where she was staying did not allow children. But the resourceful young woman began making phone calls and found New Ground, a transitional housing shelter run by Friends of Youth.
Tasha soon discovered that Friends of Youth offers a hand up, not a handout. She was expected to take responsibility for her life and for the life of her new daughter, Monique. “They don’t enable you at all,” Tasha said of the staff. “There’s no reason for you to not have a job.”
Soon after she gave birth to her daughter, Tasha enrolled in Cascadia Community College and began working at the school as part of a work-study program. She’s working toward her bachelors in social services and humanities and masters in education, hoping to teach middle and high school students someday. She is also working to save enough for first and last month’s rent when she moves out of New Ground. “It helped a whole lot," she said of her time with Friends of Youth. “I just feel more motivated here.”
Ronald is an 18-year-old male who had been homeless for several months, forced out of his home by family tensions. Living in his car, he struggled with alcohol and had been tempted by drugs. Yet through it all, he managed to successfully hold a job and attend community college.
But Ronald soon realized he could not do it alone. He made the decision to come to Friends of Youth’s New Ground, a transitional living program for homeless young adults. He wanted stable housing and the support of weekly case management, which would allow him to continue developing various life skills.
Since arriving at New Ground, Ronald has worked with his case manager on maintaining employment, budgeting and obtaining long-term housing. While he still faces day-to-day challenges of maintaining housing and employment, he is making great strides towards his goals of finishing college and supporting himself independently.
Note: Names of clients have been changed to protect their privacy.