First Place

More than a quarter of homeless adults first experienced homelessness as children or teens.  The human costs of a lack of successful programs for homeless youth are clear.

To break the cycle of homelessness, First Place permanent supported apartments provide young people with much-needed structure and services as they gain the knowledge and self-confidence to live successfully on their own.

Imagine landing at a homeless shelter with only a backpack full of belongings. A homeless teen with no reliable adults in your life.

How would you find a job, locate a safe apartment, learn to balance a budget?

First Place offers homeless youth the tools to successfully transition to adulthood and independence. 

“I’ve overcome pretty extreme circumstances to better myself. Teen Services staff were able to relate to what I have going on and offered me a chance to do something with my life.”

“I can’t explain how much Preble Street has helped me get to where I want to be in my life. You could never know unless you walk a mile in my shoes.”

A Chance for a Fresh Start

First Place works with landlords throughout Greater Portland to secure affordable apartments for youth who are ready and willing to do the work to attain independence.

Open to homeless youth, ages 18 to 23, who cannot safely return to their families, First Place offers participants single-occupancy apartments and case management for up to 18 months, after which time the tenant is expected to be prepared to assume responsibility for the lease.

First Place is a long-term supportive housing model developed and implemented by social service professionals who have a deep understanding of why youth are often unsuccessful in housing programs and the skills to help young people overcome obstacles to stable housing.

Beginning by meeting basic shelter needs, First Place involves outreach, individual assessment and service planning, life skills development, educational and vocational support, referrals to community resources, and follow-up for as long as a year after discharge.

They are young people with the will and the drive, but not the tools, to succeed.

First Place youth are smart, talented, thoughtful, and hard-working. They have the potential to be enormous assets to the community if given the opportunity to focus their energy on building skills rather than navigating survival on the streets.