Homeless Youth Finds Security, Purpose with CG Help

At age 14, Armon was living on the streets stealing to survive. For his crimes he spent five years in a juvenile detention facility. Upon his release, he thought he had no other option but to return to the streets and, if he was lucky, occasionally a friend’s couch. Then he was introduced to Common Ground.

Armon applied and was accepted into the Graduated Apartment Program (GAP). Through the program, Common Ground subleases apartments to homeless young people for up to two years. The clients in the program are required to pay 30 percent of the rent, maintain employment and be enrolled in an educational career planning program.

“It’s great for people who were in trouble like me,” Armon said. “I’m maintaining a job, getting my education and moving on.”

Staff and peer mentors provide support and skills to help clients build a stable future. Meetings are held weekly to help Armon and other GAP clients with budgeting, stabilizing finances, apartment maintenance, transportation, cooking, and other life skills. Individual counseling sessions are also required.

Armon said that aside from becoming responsible and self-reliant, the main obstacle he has overcome is his anger. “The weekly sessions are my favorite part. I learn so much and talk to the counselors,” he said. “Now I can control my rage - it was one of my biggest problems in life.”

Today Armon is studying to be a social worker because of the difficulties he’s faced and his positive experience with Common Ground.