At just 16-years-old, Melanie was struggling to find housing and stability after being disowned by her family because of her sexual identity. When she arrived on the steps of AIDS Action’s Youth on Fire shelter in Cambridge, she was exhausted and looking for somewhere to feel safe.
“When I first went to YOF, I simply wanted to get off the street and have a place to rest my head. I didn’t trust the staff and never really wanted to talk with anyone – I just heard you could get a free meal, T-passes, and clothes from YOF,” Melanie said. “Every time I came, one of the case managers would ask me how I was doing and if I needed help. At first I shrugged her off, but she kept seeking me out. My case manager introduced me to one of YOF’s mental health workers and she met with me each week one on one. Between the two of them I felt more support than I have ever felt. They also connected me with other support groups in the area and it’s made a huge difference.”
Melanie found the compassion and resources she needed at YOF to move forward with her life and make some major changes.
“I still have some really bad days, but they are less and less, and I know I can go to YOF if I’m feeling low,” said Melanie. “I’ve been able to find a job, and have a small apartment that I share with a few people. I still have a long way to go, but I’m not on the streets anymore and I feel that I’m worth something now.”
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