Foster Youth to Independence

August 02, 2019

“We see firsthand that the trauma of homelessness intensifies the challenges of connecting to housing.”

Preble Street Teen Services Director Leah McDonald spoke at the launch of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, which offers housing vouchers to prevent homelessness for youth aging out of foster care.‬

There are many risks for young people experiencing homelessness. They are more likely to attempt suicide, 70% of report experiencing some kind of violence, 32% report sexual assault, and the likelihood of being coerced into sex or labor trafficking increases.

At Preble Street we serve 250 youth age 12-20 each year, and every young person we serve has a different story. Some were kicked out of their homes and are unable to return, some ran away from abuse, others are refugees or asylees having left their home country to find safety in Maine, others are victims of human trafficking, and many of these youth have interacted at one time or another with the foster care system.

But one thing all of these young people have in common is having experienced the trauma of homelessness. Homelessness is traumatic. And we see firsthand that this trauma intensifies the challenges of connecting to stable housing. HUD is one of our partners in acting to ensure our most vulnerable youth are safe and given opportunities to achieve independence and stability.