Hand2Paw helps homeless youth, many of whom end up that way because they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for foster care but they have not yet achieved a permanent family placement. Their situation is almost beyond comprehension so we keep close tabs on legislation that might afford them more of a bridge to adulthood and a stable future. Washington is currently considering such legislation. Here is a glimpse into what it feels like to have no safety net:
Growing up in a trailer with her uncle and grandfather, Sharayah Lane always knew what her 18th birthday would mean: homelessness.
As expected, when that day came it was marked not by parties, but an immediate end to the foster-care reimbursement checks that allowed Lane’s relatives to cover the costs of sheltering her. No more checks meant no more housing.
“It was just common knowledge — when you turn 18, you’re done,” Lane said. “After the checks stopped coming, we all went our separate ways. For me, that was couch-surfing — keeping my stuff in my backpack and staying wherever I could.”