Providing Hope to Young People with Limited Support

Photograph of a young woman standing in the sunlight.Maya spent most of her childhood in foster care. When she did return home, she didn’t stay long.

“My mom was in and out of jail all the time. So, I was like, I can’t live with her anymore,” Maya said.

Finding herself homeless, Maya wound up at Hope Street for Homeless Youth, a Family and Youth Services Bureau-funded shelter and transitional living program run by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Hope Street starts by giving Minneapolis youth the basics of shelter, food, clothing and medical care.

“A lot of them have no birth certificate, no I.D., and they have to start from scratch,” said Program Director Andrea Simonett.

Case management and life skills help young people reach their longer-term goals.

“If you ask almost any youth that we serve ‘What are your goals? What do you want,’ every single one would say something around ‘I want my own place. I want to go back to school. I want to work,’” Simonett said. “But it is incredibly difficult to navigate some of these systems in order to access that support, in order to accomplish those goals.”

With the support of Hope Street, Maya is working toward her goals. She is a full-time student at a Minneapolis technical college, and she has a job and her own apartment.

“They helped me out with stuff I needed to be doing that I couldn’t do on my own,” said Maya. “I’m 18, I’ve never done any of this before. This is all new to me.”