The Shaw House Day Program provides safety for homeless youth, access to basic needs assistance, counseling services including access to individual and family counseling, prevention services, case management services, case planning that fully involves parents and legal guardians towards reunification, referrals, and service linkage.
The Day Program provides a safe haven away from the streets and, in combination with the Shaw House Youth Homeless Shelter, offers 24/7 access to shelter, food, showers, laundry, clothing closet, access to caring adult staff, and a safe environment for homeless young people.
Michael accessed the Shaw House Day Program at age 16 after an increasingly unhealthy hostile family environment inevitably proved to be more than he or his mother could bear, leading to Michael leaving the home. Michael, having just recently moved to Maine with his mother, found himself staying with various friends, struggling to maintain attendance in high school due to his daily struggle with homelessness, and unable to in meet his basic needs. Michael heard about the Shaw House Day Program through friends and accessed the program in late March 2016.
Michael presented as a mature young man when he arrived, with goals and ambitions yet to be explored. He stated that it was the strong values of his mother that helped mold him into the motivated person he was becoming. Unfortunately, it was also these values that inhibited his mother from understanding Michael’s feelings regarding his gender as he identified as transgender female to male.
Upon his access of the Day Program, the Case Manager of the program quickly learned that Michael had significant medical issues that had been unattended to as a result of his difficulty accessing medical care as a homeless minor. The Case Manager connected Michael with medical care, and supported him in following through with the recommendations from his doctor. While Michael continued to wrestle with his medical condition, he pushed through and regained his footing in his education. Michael took advantage of the offer for safe shelter, and accessed the Shaw House Emergency Shelter. After a year of accessing the Day Program, Michael applied for, and was accepted to, the Shaw House Transitional Living Program when he was 17.
At a recent banquet this past November hosted by the Shaw House, Michael, now 18 years old, shared his story. Walking up to the front of the room with the support of his cane due to a recent surgery, he looked proud and confident. Michael had become an informal spokesperson and advocate for homeless youth, recently having participated in a statewide meeting to help reform policies to better support homeless youth. With grace, Michael shared his story. He spoke highly of the support he received from the Shaw House Day Program, emphasizing how much it meant for him to feel cared about. He spoke about the support from his therapist, who had been alongside him for the past 2 years, grinning at her as she held her seat in the back of the room. With joy and enthusiasm, he shared that he had just moved into his own apartment 2-weeks prior. “It is hard to believe that this key belongs to me, that this is my apartment.”
Michael not only overcame homelessness, he overcame homelessness with severe disability. While the services and
support offered by the Shaw House Day Program definitely assisted Michael in getting to where he is today, his strength and resiliency were the force behind is success.
136 Union Street, Bangor, ME 04401