Survey indicates many teens are homeless

PORTLAND, Maine -A 6-page, 45-question survey is being conducted in local communities to find new ways to help vulnerable young adults.

Preble Street Resource Center is conducting the study in seven counties. Preliminary results show that many young adults are homeless.

Teens that couch surf, camp out or find other ways to survive are being counted for in the survey.

A young mother, Alie Rodriguez, 20, often relies on friends or the Teen Center for help.

“It’s very hard,” Rodriguez said. “Especially when you’re at a young age and you’re trying to do it on your own.”

Leaders at Preble Street agree. They took six months to come up the teen survey in hopes of making a case to lawmakers.

“Nobody knew I was homeless in high school,” said Cheri Crossman, an advocate for Cumberland County youth, who was also homeless as a teen. “I was in Windham High School today talking to the principal (about) why we’re doing this. He was saying, ‘you were homeless?’ Well, technically I was couch surfing with one friend and I had a family take me in who wasn’t a foster parent.”

Preble Street in Rodriguez’s home for now.

“They’re there for you all the time, so it’s very nice to have those supporters,” she said.

Survey responses will be collected through Friday.