Steven’s Story

Steven* first came to our attention in July when a current FYI participant reached out to our program director, Gina. He was concerned that his friend’s cousin, an 18 year old former foster youth, was struggling and needed help. He asked if he could give the young man Gina’s phone number.

Steven called and explained that he had been homeless since he was 17, when his adoptive mother abandoned him. A senior at Golden Valley High School, Steven couch surfed for a while but eventually found himself living on the streets and unable to attend school. When he reached out to FYI, he had just been beaten up by a group of teens who stole the backpack that contained the only food, water and possessions he had. FYI immediately referred him to our local homeless shelter and made an appointment for him to come to our office.

During his intake appointment, Steven shared that he was 4 years old when he entered the foster care system along with his 8 siblings. After bouncing from foster home to foster home, he was adopted at the age of 9 and had some stability until he was 14, when his adoptive father died. After three years of turmoil, his adoptive mother returned to her home country in South America, leaving Steven to fend for himself. He described the anxiety and despair that he had experienced since then. He constantly worried about his next meal and said, “I pray to God everyday asking him to save me.”

Through FYI’s connections with the Children’s Law Center, we helped Steven reopen his case with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), even though he is already 18 years old. This will allow him to receive a housing stipend until his 21st birthday. FYI helped Steven enroll in a local charter school so he can complete his high school diploma. He was paired with an Ally who is providing the emotional support and encouragement Steven needs to get his life back on track.

Two weeks ago, Steven moved into permanent housing that FYI secured for him thanks to our connections in the community. He needed furnishings for his room, so we reached out and the community responded with donations of a bed, dresser and refrigerator. Steven has texted us to tell us how well he has been sleeping now that he finally has his own bed!

*Name changed to protect privacy

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