We’re Excited About Our New Residential Program!
Through our Retail Job Training and Caring Connections programs, we are working to empower the youth of our community and equip them with the life skills they need to succeed and improve the world around them. Many of the young people we serve are struggling to overcome difficult pasts as they work to transition into adulthood and independent living, which can be both intimidating and expensive. As Nashville continues to develop, affordable housing options are becoming less and less prevalent, and many youth are facing homelessness. We wanted to be able to offer the young adults (ages 18 to early 20s) involved in our programs safe, affordable housing – and thanks to a recent grant, we’re working to do just that!
My name is Ashley, and I am 22 years old. When I started working at Crossroads in March of 2015, I was hopeless. The year before, I had lost everything and had given up on life. My mom had gotten sick, so we were evicted from our apartment. My grandma refused to take me in so I had no choice but to go to the homeless shelter.
When I started working at Crossroads, my hope returned. I was making and doing what I had always loved, taking care of animals. My mom soon decided to move to Mississippi with my grandma so I was left in Tennessee, alone. Crossroads became my family, and when I left the shelter to live for a time with people who ended up taking advantage of me, Crossroads was there to help me when everything fell apart.
On August 11th 2014, I lost my home, but on March 6th, 2016, Crossroads gave me a new one by letting me move into their residential program.
I was homeless 573 days. Those days were hard, and taught me some valuable lessons about family and the meaning of home. However, in the end, I would go through it all again because it led me to Crossroads where I was meant to be.
My name is Stefanie. I first started working for Crossroads Pets in 2014 through the Goodwill training program. About six weeks later, they placed me on their pay role for an extended internship. About one year and six months later, I brought a friend into my parent’s home who was not being treated very well (with their approval).
Soon, though, my mother became upset and decided to take it out on my friend and tried to kick her out into the cold. I decided right there that I wasn’t going to stand for it—and left to live with my friend in the women’s mission.
Around that time, Crossroads started to build an apartment and asked if we would like to apply to move in. We of course, said yes. Four months of living at the (women’s) mission later, the building was complete. Two weeks ago (3/21/16), we moved in.
Crossroads has done a lot for me since I started working here, two years, two months and two weeks ago. They taught me a great many things in all that time; how to love and care for animals and help them to find what we hope to be their forever home, how to work in retail and serve customers, how to walk dogs and feed both dogs and cats properly, and how to work the register. They taught me how to wash, brush, dry and even trim the animal’s nails!
They gave me a home, but above all else, they showed me that a little patience, a strong will, a little bit of hard work and a whole lot of love and kindness can go a long way. At Crossroads, I learned that being at the crossroads of life means anything is possible if you are only willing to try.
Where & What The Space Will Be
We have begun construction of a residential space above our Retail Store that will house some of our youth as they transition into adulthood and independent living. The facility will be ADA accessible and have 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a shared community and kitchen space, an office, a laundry room, and a covered deck. Residents will be supervised and will be involved in activities and training programs that build community and equip them for financial independence and job success. They will pay income-based rent and can stay in the space anywhere from a few months to 2 years. Occupants are required to follow program rules and will work with the social worker and housing supervisor to develop housing, education and career goals and plans. Through the Residential Program, we hope to provide a safe and affordable environment and equip youth with the skills they need to face the next stage of adulthood with confidence. We’re so excited about this new program and look forward to sharing the adventure with you – stay tuned for updates and photos of the construction process!