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The Faces of Homelessness — Young Adults

HOMELESSNESS — the problem is bigger than you know. The victims are younger than you think!

Every night, across the country, thousands of young people experience homelessness and go to sleep without safety and stability. Their experience is often fluid from night to night, based on where they can find space for the evening. They sleep on a friend’s couch, in a car or an abandoned building, and on the streets. This month, we address The Faces of Homelessness — Young Adults.

The causes behind this issue are complex. Family dynamics marked by abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse, and family conflict contribute significantly to youth homelessness and often lead to problems in school, involvement in criminal activities, substance dependence, or emotional challenges.

Many young adults find themselves aging out of the foster care system without a solid plan. Often, they’re not adequately prepared for independent living, and the responsibilities of adulthood hit them abruptly without much guidance. 

Meet Cordell, a quiet 22-year-old who recently joined MRM’s Man of Integrity year-long residential program. He shared his heartbreaking journey of entering the foster care system due to abuse and neglect at the tender age of nine, along with his baby sister. Initially, they were placed together in foster care. His sister was soon adopted, but Cordell remained in the system until he turned eighteen.  “I lost count after fifty,” he confessed, referring to the staggering number of foster homes he shuffled through in nine years. Over fifty different foster homes, families and schools — what a tragic ordeal. “Changing schools was tough; I was always the new kid and never quite fit in.” Despite the constant upheaval, Cordell graduated from high school. Being in the MOI program, he is eager to learn valuable life skills, especially money management, budgeting and vocational training. He hopes it will help him determine a career path to focus on. 

Having spent most of his life fending for himself, Cordell battles with depression and struggles with a lack of motivation, likely stemming from the trauma of his childhood. However, since coming to MRM and joining the MOI program, he’s found strength in his newfound faith, structured daily schedule and program requirements. “I didn’t believe in anything before. But since coming here, I’ve begun to believe in God,” he shared. For the first time, Cordell is learning to trust and lean on his heavenly Father. Knowing God loves him unconditionally gives Cordell a sense of belonging, which he’s never experienced. He now realizes he has a loving, caring father in his life.

As you can see, housing instability and the stress it brings can severely disrupt a young person’s journey toward independence. With your support, we can help ensure today’s vulnerable youth don’t become tomorrow’s homeless adults. —  Donate Today!

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