Community Partners Help an SOP Grantee Get a Young Woman Off the Street

A smiling young woman wearing business casual attireIn November 2013, Seton Youth Shelters, a Family and Youth Services Bureau's street outreach program grantee serving the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, got a call from a youth-serving agency in Portsmouth. This group had just made contact with Sandra, a young woman who had been homeless for weeks, and thought she’d be a good fit for Seton’s residence. That first call was all it took to help Sandra start to turn her life around: by day’s end, she was in the main Seton Youth Shelters facility, developing a plan to get off the street.

Kathy Jeffries, Seton’s Development & Community Outreach Director, says that these kinds of community partnerships are invaluable for an agency that serves an area of 930 square miles.

By the time Jeffries’ colleagues in the street outreach program got in touch with her, Sandra was in better shape than many homeless youth. She had two job interviews coming up, for example, though she lacked a means of actually getting to them. One street outreach worker secured bus passes for her, while others reached out to different community partners like Virginia Job Corps and VIP Hair Studios to get her new, professional clothes, resume-writing help, and an interview-appropriate haircut. The work paid off, and Sandra got her job.

By January, Sandra was a resident at Cassady House, Seton Youth Shelters’ residence for 18-24 year-olds. With the help of her case managers and supporters there, she enjoyed a stable address while starting the new job. Her success is a tribute to Seton Youth Shelters’ wide network of local agencies who can pull together and get young people like Sandra into a safe, supportive environment on short notice.

“The love and support I got from them is indescribable,” Sandra says now. “SOP staff and the Virginia Job Corps staff worked tirelessly, helping me complete my application and get accepted. They didn’t know my struggle, but they made sure they helped me make it and reach my goals.”