We’re updating this page as new stories and information comes in. Our program staff are working on the front lines with youth and families experiencing homelessness and crises, especially as COVID-19 forces them into a new and more challenging way of life.
We opened a new distribution site today in Bailey’s Crossroads. We now distribute food in three areas – one in Springfield and two in Culmore.
We gifted all the young mothers with flowers and a gift card, thanks to help from you! We also have a new young person in the program. She is quarantining in a townhome for 14 days and we’re providing her with food and other resources in the meantime.
The young mothers had a group therapy session on self-care, a much-needed topic right now. We have also had a lot of diapers and wipes donated, thanks to your generous support. The young women are so thankful to have what they need for their children.
We were able to give all of the women in Second Story for Young Mothers masks because of your donations! Many of them have also started receiving unemployment benefits and stimulus checks so we’ve been working hard on financial management and budgeting within the scope of their new income.
A Second Story for Homeless Youth case manager sent us two updates about youth she works with, Cyrus and Asha, and how they’re lives have changed in the past month:
“Cyrus” has been receiving support from Second Story through our Rapid Re-Housing Initiative, which is a part of Second Story for Homeless Youth. Young people in this facet of our program came to us because they were either staying in a shelter, sleeping in a public place, or living from their cars.
He got connected with our program and now rents a room with Second Story’s support. He had a job at a movie theater, but was laid off in February. Cyrus lost his ID and other documents, which isn’t uncommon for youth experiencing homelessness. Many of them leave their placements quickly, moving around between different shelters and other sleeping arrangements, which makes keeping track of your belongings more difficult. We often bring youth to the DMV to recover documents and help coach them through keeping track of these important pieces of ID, but the DMV is closed right now so Cyrus cannot look for another job.
We’ve been bringing Cyrus snacks and other food and he has expressed his gratitude over and over again. We talk with him about managing the anxiety and frustration he’s feeling as a result of his unemployment and lost paperwork. We know Cyrus is having a hard time right now, and we look forward to every opportunity we get to connect with him.
“Asha” has been in our program for about a year. She had been moving through our program and making good progress – saving money, holding down a good job, and learning to be a better parent to her three-year-old and one-year-old kids. About a week ago her hours were cut significantly at work. She is working on filing for unemployment but the process is cumbersome.
Asha’s daycare provider tested positive for COVID-19 so her kids are home with her all the time, even while she works a few hours from home for her job. She’s doing her best to keep up with her bills, but the decrease in income has hit her hard. Second Story is increasing our rent support for her and bringing her food and other supplies like diapers, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and toilet paper weekly.
Asha struggles with anxiety and this situation has, expectedly, been hard on her. Our staff are not meeting in-person with youth, instead scheduling phone calls, though we get to see them about once a week to deliver supplies and we love seeing them face to face through our masks! We’ve been encouraging Asha by talking about her anxiety, processing what she can and cannot control, and reminding her of our support. We’re committed to helping her and the other youth in our programs get through this.
We have had some really hard days, and many of the young women at Second Story for Young Mothers are under a lot of stress, but we were able to have Easter baskets donated. It was special to celebrate together.
Our Family Resource Centers are helping members of the community apply for unemployment. The process is glitchy and complicated because so many people are trying to access benefits. If we find out someone is ineligible for unemployment benefits we refer them to partner organizations like ECHO, Food for Others, and Coordinated Services.
Staff from our Safe Youth Projects are using an app with students in their program that allows them to read books based on their reading level. Staff read with them via phone call, taking turns and then give them reading comprehension questions, which they write down and send back with a photo.
Staff from Second Story in the Community are working in a variety of ways to support people in the community suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19. They are coordinating food distribution, referring families to clinics and unemployment assistance, keeping in touch with youth, sending education materials to youth, distributing baby formula, translating documents, and connecting families to other important resources.
Second Story for Homeless Youth Case Managers are delivering food and other resources to their clients. Many of them have been laid off or have had their hours cut, while a couple of them are working extra at grocery stores. They reached out to us to say they were very thankful for the support.
Families in the communities our Family Resource Centers serve have been especially hard hit by the virus. We’re doing what we can to give them resource and help meet other needs. Two women specifically stood out to our staff:
“Ms. Ruiz” is a single mother of four kids and works as a housekeeper. Since the pandemic started she has not been able to go to work or get paid. This leaves her unable to provide for her family. We have been saving donations for her at the center. She comes to pick up food and other resources to help she and her family through this hard time.
“Ms. Elena” is a single mother and has two kids, one of them whom comes to the teen center. She lost her job at a hotel as a result of the pandemic and she’s been unable to pay for her rent or provide for she and her children’s basic needs. Staff spoke to her over the phone while working from home and helped her get unemployment insurance so that she can receive support to pay rent and support her family.
Thanks to wonderful donors, Second Story for Young Mothers gifted all of the young mothers with a care package including cleaning supplies, paper towel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, medicine for themselves and their child in case they get sick. We also received a generous donation for Grubhub and provided dinner for the young women. Many of them have their hours being cut, or are being laid off due to COVID-19, and are now more vulnerable than ever and rely on us for support and resources. One young woman named Amanda was especially thankful. “You have no idea the smile that you put on my face because of your very generous donation!! Times are really hard for me and my son right now and you truly came at the perfect time! Again, thank you so much!”