After a long day we students were excited the next activity would be in the home we were staying at for the week. We migrated to the comfy basement for a workshop with LJ.
All us sprawled out on the couches and carpet to watch a video about At The Crossroads. At The Crossroads is an organization LJ works for by doing outreach for to homeless youth and young adults. At The Crossroads provides various services such as handing out food/condoms/toothbrushes, counseling, helping set up interviews, etc.
When the video ended we partnered up and considered all of the different situations real people are in that would prevent them from getting a job. It was surprising to me how many obstacles a homeless youth would need to overcome such as: no internet access to learn about the job, not having the correct documents, being recently incarcerated or accused, and avoiding notification of truancy to authorities.
It really resonated with me that At The Crossroads meets people where they are, and as an organization does not try to persuade people to stop living the life they are living. I think giving people agency is so important in trying to help them.
My heart aches every time I encounter someone who I perceive as homeless. I am filled with sadness, curiosity, and a longing to help that person. However, I don’t know which strategy or approach is the best in helping them. Especially after LJ’s presentation I am interested in exploring a job in homeless outreach, enabling me to know how to help in the desired way.