We meet incredible young people through our programs — youth who, against all odds, overcome barriers and circumstances most of us could not imagine and work to reclaim their lives. Clients are the experts of their own experiences and caseworkers support them in setting and achieving their goals of independence, stability, and safety. Each of the 250 youth who received support from Preble Street Teen Services over the last year has a unique story, including Max, who is making incredible changes in his life. Today he is housed, working toward his GED, and has become an advocate for other youth.
It is amazing what our caseworkers and clients have accomplished together over the last year! 67 youth secured permanent or supportive housing despite the current affordable housing crisis. Six teens and young adults graduated from local schools and Portland Adult Ed. And at Preble Street, we know that the “little” successes are big successes too. 139 youth stayed at the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter for a total of 6,280 bed nights. That’s 6,280 times that a young person slept in a warm, safe bed instead of on the street. Youth and their caseworkers continue to strive to access important documentation and identification papers, address their health, reduce their substance use, search for employment, maintain their mental health, and reunite with family. Every step matters.
“For 25 years, Preble Street has been working with youth experiencing homelessness in the state of Maine,” says Leah McDonald, LCSW, Senior Director of Teen Services. “Young people can fall into homelessness for a wide variety of reasons — no two stories are ever the same — and often have no other options. I am continually impressed by the resilience of these youth and what they can achieve.”
While the Preble Street Teen Center and shelter are based in Portland, Preble Street Teen Services has grown to offer outreach to youth in 11 Maine counties and housing support in 4 Maine counties! This expansion allows us to rapidly resolve episodes of homelessness and help youth remain in their community of choice, while connecting individuals to critical resources determined by each young person’s needs.