The Shaw House Youth Shelter provides a safe supportive place to be during the nighttime hours. Youth that are homeless have immediate access to meals, clothing closet, showers, laundry facilities, clean beds, medical services, and care and crisis intervention services.
The low-barrier shelter provides 16 beds with two dormitories, one 8-bed for males, and one 8-bed for females, and is open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. The shelter program serves unaccompanied youth who are homeless aged between 10 – 20. On-site staff provide 24-hour supervision and support services. The Shelter combined with the Day Program ensures 24-hour access, services, and safety for vulnerable at-risk youth in northeast Maine. (The Shaw House Day Program operates from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ensuring 24-hour safety for homeless young people.)
“Katie” came to the Shaw House for the first time in April 2014. At the time, she was in an abusive relationship, in with the “wrong crowd” and using drugs. She did not stay in the shelter consistently, wasn’t much interested in utilizing services, and jeopardized her access by making poor choices, with her stay terminating in the middle of May.
Katie returned to the Shaw House, again seeking shelter. She was desperate to get away from the unsafe places she was staying and the risky behaviors she was involved in. Despite her troubled history with Shaw House and the suspicion that she was still using meth and possibly other drugs, she was given another chance and granted access with much reservation. She had gotten a job in the kitchen of a local restaurant but still had bad influences in her life and was too scared to leave her abusive boyfriend. Katie was, however, motivated to increase visitation with her young daughter with the goal of eventually regaining custody.
With the support of Shaw House staff and the positive influence of co-workers, Katie eventually found the courage to leave her abusive boyfriend. She continued to work many hours and save money, which lead to her getting a more flexible housing voucher. Katie used money from her savings to pay her security deposit and moved into her own apartment at the beginning of March 2016.
She has since aged out, but occasionally stops by to check in with her case manager and housing navigator. Katie is doing well but also still struggles at times. She has admitted to relapsing a couple times but keeps her daughter as her focus and motivation. She picks herself back up and continues to move forward. Katie has gotten another promotion at work, maintains her apartment, and is now able to have overnight visits with her daughter.
With some help from Shaw House and mostly her hard work and devotion to her daughter, Katie is achieving her goals and seeing her dreams come true.