Let us tell you a story about our friend, Nina. This brave young woman from the San Antonio area escaped from an abusive home life, but the resulting emotional distress and trauma stayed with her like invisible wounds that never healed.
With no family or friends to turn to, Nina found herself living on the streets. She was in her mid-20s, and what should have been an exciting and adventurous time of independence, career exploration, and reveling in her youth became one of the darkest periods of her life. She was living in her car, surfing on couches, and basically living in survival mode. Then, as her mental health deteriorated, she started experiencing episodes of intense anger.
Fortunately, Nina found hope at a local youth shelter. Through the people she met, she regained inspiration for positive change, and today she enjoys a stable home life and serves on the San Antonio Youth Action Board to end youth homelessness.
The Youth Homelessness Crisis
Unfortunately, the story of Nina’s pain is all too common. While most people ages 18-24 are desperate to get out of the house, spread their wings, and embark on their own adventures, there is a significant portion of this demographic that would give anything to have a place to call ‘home.’
In Texas alone, over 230,000 youth and young adults are currently experiencing homelessness. That’s almost a quarter of a million young people full of potential who are between homes or living on the streets long-term. Housing instability can be significantly detrimental to a young person’s development and their ability to transition into independent adulthood. Furthermore, youth homelessness impacts the entire community from education to local law enforcement systems. A proactive approach to providing support and resources for our neighbors in need goes a long way towards maintaining a thriving community.
According to the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH), “Gender, racial and ethnic disparities among low-income individuals and families place [youth and young adults] at higher risk for experiencing homelessness. COVID-19 has exacerbated these disparities.” But, truly, homelessness can happen to anyone.
These are young people who don’t necessarily have someone to turn to for help, who don’t have anyone in their corner. And for every young adult who is currently experiencing homelessness, there are more who are just one unexpected expense or one job lay-off away from a financial crisis and life on the streets.
Working Together To Help Our Youth
The fact that young people — the future of our country — are in crisis like this is heartbreaking. But we believe it’s a crisis that can be resolved. Endeavors is expanding its re-housing services to launch the Youth Resilient Project (YRP), a re-housing program specifically designed for youth and young adults ages 18-24 in Bexar County, Texas.
The project launched in October as part of SARAH’s #WESAY #HouseAllYouth Movement and will serve 45 youth of all self-identified genders. Through the program, our Case Managers will work one-on-one with the young people to find permanent housing and provide access to important services like mental health counseling, parenting education, employment assistance, educational services, life skills training, mentorship, childcare, as well as basic needs such as food, clothing, and medical care.
The end goal? To help our young people establish stable, independent lives with professional and life skills to maintain steady employment and housing. To create and share more success stories like Nina’s.
Since 2012, Endeavors has been a leader in rapid re-housing services for Veterans and people with disabilities or mental illnesses who are experiencing homelessness or facing homelessness. Our model provides safe and stable housing for residents to heal from trauma and gain new skills through training and empowerment to prevent eviction. With teams of dedicated Case Managers and our individualized approach, we’ve had the honor of helping thousands of people in crisis build safe, stable, self-sufficient futures.
That’s why Endeavors was recently awarded over $1.5 million through the TX-500 Youth Demonstration Homelessness Program to support the Youth Resilient Program for two years. Thanks to this award, our Case Managers will be able to make a tangible difference in the lives of our community’s at-risk youth and young adults.
We are proud that our Youth Resilient Program is part of a larger community effort to end youth homelessness in Bexar County! The incredible #HouseAllYouth Movement is being spearheaded by SARAH and supported by other local nonprofits and community organizations, including Youth Action Board (YAB SA), Thrive Youth Center, Providence Place, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, Bexar County Fostering Educational Success Pilot Project, and The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
How You Can Help
Want to get involved? Take a stand and join the #WESAY #HouseAllYouth Movement for Youth in San Antonio and Bexar County!
Additionally, the Youth Resilient Project is in need of supplies to best serve the youth and young adults in the program. Endeavors is currently accepting the following items for donation:
- hygiene products such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, loofahs, lotion, deodorant, combs, feminine hygiene products
- linens to include: bedding sets, pillows, shower curtain, bathmat, towels
- household items: utensils, bowls, plates, Tupperware, dishrack, cleaning supplies, microwaves, coffee machine
- gift cards for HEB and Walmart
- furniture to include mattresses, bed frames, nightstands, loveseats, small kitchen tables
- monetary donations.
To donate, or for more information about the program, email us at [email protected].
Endeavors, a San Antonio based nonprofit, is a longstanding national nonprofit agency that provides an array of programs and services supporting children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness, disabilities, disasters, or emergencies. Endeavors has served vulnerable people in need since 1969 through personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.