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Matt’s Struggle as a Homeless Youth Ends with Hope

Matt, a developmentally challenged young man was abused as a child and became homeless as a teen. With the support of Streetwork Project, Matt found the support and safety he needed for a brighter future.

Matt's Homeless Youth Story

*Matt’s story is evidence that abuse and homelessness can happen to anyone.

The very people who were supposed to love and nurture this young man ended up being the cause of his trauma and suffering.

Matt is developmentally challenged. He was physically and verbally abused when he was a child and abandoned by his family as a teenager.

As if life were not a struggle already, his family had kicked Matt out on the streets to fend for himself. Matt became a statistic: one of the nearly 70% of young people who become homeless after being abused as a child.

With nowhere to go and no one to turn to Matt looked for work, but no one would even give him the chance to apply. Trying to keep warm and safe, Matt rode the subways and buses; sleeping wherever he could.

How Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project Helped Matt Heal

When Matt was only 17 and living on the street, he would frequent an abandoned lot where homeless people gather.

One night he was approached by someone handing out free food and bottled water. She introduced herself as a staff member from Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project, and invited him to visit one of our two Drop-In Centers.

Matt came to our Lower East Side Drop-In Center and was offered:

  • A warm meal
  • A hot shower
  • Clean clothes to wear
  • A meeting with an expert case manager, who found him a spot in our emergency shelter
  • Help working towards a long-term solution

A Brighter Future for Matt

Today, Matt is off the streets and in supportive housing. He is receiving assistance for his disability and has transitioned into the community.

With your help, young people like Matt can finally have somewhere to belong.

Each donation to Safe Horizon helps the give more than 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by violence and abuse the tools and resources they need to heal and recover every year.

The most important way we help homeless young people is by giving them hope. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, our city’s homeless youth have a safe place to come to and find:

  • Emergency services including crisis housing, hot meals, showers and clothing
  • Medical services, including HIV prevention and assistance obtaining Medicaid
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Legal assistance
  • Opportunities to socialize in a safe, non-judgmental setting
  • Case managers who will help them navigate complex systems to gain access to resources
  • * Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.