For Young People, Homelessness is a Different Type of Struggle

Leah Binkovitz | @leahbink | December 12, 2016

Image via Kinder Institute/Leah Binkovitz.

Image via Kinder Institute/Leah Binkovitz.

She saw it from the bus.

One bedroom, a kitchen, a living room. It was still under construction, but when it was done, the home would be three stories tall. In certain neighborhoods, rows of wooden frames like this one fill entire blocks. Once completed, the townhomes welcome buyers looking for granite countertops and outdoor fireplaces.

But in its current form, Lala, thought, the unfinished townhome would do just fine.

It was the fourth consecutive day in August that temperatures hit 100. During the daytime Lala, 19, finds ways to stay busy and out of the searing Houston sun. That just leaves the night as a constant question. It wasn’t her first time being homeless, but it was her first time being homeless on her own. She’d left her mother’s house after a fight a few months ago. Now, figuring out where to go to sleep was never simple.

For now, Lala regularly stays in abandoned or vacant homes known as “bandos.” Some are under construction. Others are just empty. But she’s hoping to be one of the first people to benefit from a new initiative aimed at getting homeless young adults off the streets quickly and into housing.

Read the full story at Housing of Houston, a new series covering the diverse people searching for housing in the country’s most dynamic metropolitan area.

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