Realities of Youth Homelessness in Maine, a panel held on Thursday, Nov. 17, began with the anonymous story from a student of the College: “I couch surfed for a couple of years before I officially became an unaccompanied, throwaway teen; that is, a homeless youth.”
Looking at the neatly arranged peppermint candles, bowls of seashells and polished stones that decorate his tidy one-room-apartment, there’s no indication that he spent most of his life living on the streets. His face beams through framed portraits on clean white walls, belying the nature of his past, and his name is spelled out colorfully in letter magnets stuck to the fridge. Angel, it reads.
Erica, a petite 20-year old dressed in a black turtleneck and glasses, sat in the kitchen of a scrupulously neat and sparse apartment. Her apartment.
She’s staying in the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter with her daughters now. Life has dealt her a tough hand, and although the offers her some respite, things are really hard right now.
A 31-year-old single father of three from Houlton, Maine had been staying at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter for three weeks at the time of our interview.
Breaking Ground, Rebuilding Lives is the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter’s (MMHS) effort to raise $2.75 million, which will build a new shelter to house 40 residents. Students on the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) aim to raise $10,000 in contributions.
The most common misconception about homelessness is that it predominantly affects scruffy looking males, substance abusers, the mentally ill and those people too lazy to work. But one in four guests at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter is a child, two out of five guests are women, and nearly 40 percent are families.
Volunteers at the Shelter agreed that their experiences have been eye-opening and incredibly rewarding.