For Darrell, 21, Hope Street is a place that gave him shelter when his family was divided and he had no place else to go. Hope Street is a place that took him in again when he was kicked out of his mother’s home because of a disagreement. Simply, Hope Street brought Darrell into the light.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t have a family, it was just that I didn’t have a place to put my clothes or lay my head,” he said. “There were times where I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Just walking in the darkness out of the fear is what made me do the things I did.”
He rode city busses—the longest routes he could find; like many other youths experiencing homelessness, he hung out at the mall. When someone lent him a car, he used it as his bed.
“I cried. I woke up in the morning and I was still in the same situation. I hoped it was a dream,” he remembered.
At Hope Street, Darrell found a support system. He found people who would take him in when he needed it, people who would connect him to opportunities and help him gain the life skills he needs to transition into an independent adulthood like get a license and open a bank account.
He moved from Hope Street Shelter, which provided him shelter when he was in crisis to Hope Street Cottage, which is helping him transition to an independent life. In the Cottage, he pays rent and must prepare his own food and work with his three housemates to keep up on housekeeping, but has the comfort of knowing Hope Street Shelter, and the staff he grew to respect and depend on, are just steps away.
“The people at Hope Street showed me the proper steps to take to adulthood,” he said. “Hope Street has kind of been like life support for me, and I’m not ready to leave. All of the staff has helped me.
Through a connection at Hope Street, Darrell was able to get a full-time job at a Minneapolis warehouse.
“I love my job. It’s hands-on work and people are already telling me I’m the future at the place,” he said. “This is the best job.”
Monday through Friday he works 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., setting his first alarm for 4 a.m. so he doesn’t oversleep and miss his bus. On the weekend, he takes the time to have fun on his skateboard and express himself through music, many of his lyrics talking about his journey with homelessness and growing up in a divided family. He pays $100 rent each week and saves his money for the future, planning to never experience homelessness again.
“I’m just thankful for my life and thankful for the person I am,” said. “It’s important to wake up on time and go to work and that’s the main anchor to making the world go around.”