“THE DOOR”

Saving homeless youth one at a time.  See how “The Door” is making the ultimate difference for young people living on the streets in New York City.

Aired on August 13, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

I DIDN'T HAVE NOWHERE TO GO.

I WAS LIVING IN STATEN ISLAND.

NOBODY HELPS YOU IF YOU'RE NOT ILLEGAL.

BROOKLYN WAS A TOUGH NEIGHBORHOOD.

VIOLENCE, EVERYBODY SHOOTING EVERYDAY.

THE DOOR.

THE PLACE YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE HEARD OF BUT FOR THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, IT REPRESENTS A LIFELINE THAT'S HELPED THEM STAY OFF THE STREETS AND BETTER THEMSELVES.

THE TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS THAT COME TO THE DOOR HAIL FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.

SOME MAY HAVE BEEN REJECTED FROM THEIR FAMILIES BECAUSE OF SEXUAL IDENTITY OR GET AWAY FROM VIOLENCE OR DRUG USE.

BUT THEY HEAD HERE FOR GO AHEAD AND SELF-HELP CLASSES.

AN IDEA THAT CAME TO THE FOREFRONT IN RECENT MONTHS, YOUTH HOMELESSNESS.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND THE WORK IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JULIE SHAPIRO AND ELLIE, WHO WAS ONCE HOMELESS AND TURNED HER LIFE AROUND.

JULIE, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU.

HOW LONG HAS THE ORGANIZATION BEEN STARTED?

TALK ABOUT THE WORK IT DOES.

SURE.

IT'S BEEN AROUND 40 YEARS.

THE BELIEF IT WAS FOUNDED ON IS ONE WE STILL RUN ON, CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS FACING URBAN NEEDS ARE COMPLEX AND NEED INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS AND WE NEED A MODEL IN A DIVERSE CARING ENVIRONMENT AND HELP YOUNG PEOPLE REALIZE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.

ONE OF THE ISSUES YOU HAD TO FOCUS ON FAIRLY RECENTLY IS THIS MOTION OF HOMELESSNESS, SPECIFICALLY YOUTH HOMELESSNESS.

WHY ARE THE ISSUES SURROUNDING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS DIFFICULT FROM ADULTS AND HOW WE DEAL WITH THEM?

A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE COME TO THE DOOR AND ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS ARE HAVING SOME FORM OF DISCONNECTION WITH THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR COMMUNITIES, THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS, AND COME TO THE DOOR FOR A WHOLE HOST OF REASONS, BUT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR A SAFE SPACE.

AND FOR A NEW START.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE AT A DIFFERENT DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE THAN ADULTS, THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME RESOURCES AND LIFE SKILLS AND DIFFERENT VULNERABILITIES.

OUR APPROACH TO RESOLVE YOUTH HOMELESSNESS IS TO HAVE THE WHOLE RANGE OF SUPPORT TO HELP THEM GET STABILIZED AND BE SUCCESSFUL.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH SAYING TO A YOUTH, THERE'S AN ADULT SHELTER OVER THERE.

GO AHEAD.

YOU'LL BE FINE AND THEY'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU.

YOU SAY THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES, WHY?

YOUNG PEOPLE NEED MORE SUPPORT THAN THAT.

WE HAVE MANY CARING ADULTS IN OUR BELTING, OUR STAFF EXPERIENCED IN CONNECTIONS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND UNDERSTANDING THEIR GOALS AND HELPING THEM ADDRESS ALL THE ISSUES THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR HOMELESSNESS.

ISSUES AROUND LEGAL STATUS AND WE TRY TO HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH, VERY DEVELOPMENT AND YOUTH-BASED.

WE TRY TO BASE IT ON THE STRENGTHS OF YOUNG PEOPLE.

THAT LEADS US TO ELLIE.

YOU HAVE YOUR 'DOOR' T-SHIRT ON.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR STORY.

HOW DID YOU GET TO THE DOOR AND HOW DID THE ORGANIZATION HELP YOU?

I HEADED TO THE DOOR ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO.

I HAD TO GET MY G.E.D.

I REALIZED THEY HAD MANY SERVICE IS COULD UTILIZE.

NOW, I HAD MY G.E.D. AND WORK PROGRAMS, AND THEY WAS PAY MEG TO LOOK FOR A JOB AND BUILD MY RESUME AND KEEP A JOB.

IT WAS PRETTY COOLING.

I FOUND OUT ABOUT A SERVICE FOR HOMELESS RUN AWAY YOUTH.

AND I WAS ASSISTED GETTING PERMANENT HOUSING.

HERE I AM NOW, I HAVE MY OWN HOUSE IN THE BRONX.

YOU'RE A SUCCESS STORY.

WHAT IF THE ELLIE OF 2009 OR 2010 CAME TO YOU NOW AND SAID, WHAT DO I DO, WHAT CAN I DO?

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO HER?

DON'T GIVE UP.

IT'S NOT HOW YOU START, HOW YOU FINISH.

IT'S GOOD AND VERY HARD AND DIFFICULT WORK THAT 'THE DOOR' HAS BEEN DOING FOR A LOT OF YEARS NOW.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN THE FUTURE.

YOU'RE A GREAT ROLE MODEL FOR THEM TO POINT TO.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION HOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER OR DONATE TO 'THE DOOR,' HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE, METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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