Thea Digiammerino

United Way Hits Milestone in Efforts to End Youth Homelessness

The United Way of Greater New Haven is striving to end youth homelessness by 2020 as part of a statewide endeavor. On Friday, the organization said it hit a milestone in the 100 Day Challenge.

“We are 50 days in and we’ve housed 35 households with a total of 52 people,” said Kelly Fitzgerald Landino.

The organization says its goal is to help as many young people living on the streets find a home, an experience 20-year-old Brigida Cruz has been through.

“After a while you get a sense of being unstable and that’s when you start to realize your homeless.”

A working, college student, Cruz is a familiar face at the United Way, helping other young people find stability. On Friday, along with dozens of volunteers, she helped pack baskets with essentials that will be delivered to a drop-in center for homeless youth in New Haven.

“Just the necessities that we all take for granted probably and this is really an opportunity for us to make sure that everybody has those basic needs,” explained Landino.

The morning was also spent strategizing how local agencies can work better together.

“It takes a village, and that’s what we’re trying to do here today by bringing organizations together to help these young people be successful,” said Landino.

Something Cruz says begins with a leap of faith that others want to help.

“It’s extremely important for youth to reach out and kind of tell the people that care about what they’re going through.”

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