Michael, 19

 

At 16 years old Michael was hospitalized after severe bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. Through in-patient treatment Michael found the courage to come out to his family only to have them disown him and refuse to let him back home.

Michael was devastated.

He was forced to live with relatives for several weeks only to be met with the same homophobia. Shortly after his 17th birthday Michael ran away to live on the streets, where he found himself doing things he never thought he would do. He resorted to drug use to cope with his new reality.

After several months, one of AFC's outreach workers found him on the streets where he offered Michael food, warm clothing and connected Michael to our 24 Hour Drop In Center. Michael, like many homeless LGBT youth, was now severely mentally unstable, dependent on drugs and engaging in sex work to survive.

After arriving at our center, Michael was enrolled in substance abuse counseling, scheduled to see a doctor at our on-site medical clinic and meeting with a case manager who was not only helping Michael find alternatives to sex work but also helping to build Michael's self esteem and affirming his LGBT identity.

Today, Michael is sober, enrolled in school and living at one of our housing sites. He plans to attend college to become a case manager to help other youth like him. Michael's road to recovery has been a very difficult one. The scars of his time on the streets will take time to heal and our staff will be there every step of the way.