BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT)– Youth Towers assists young adults, ages 19-26, who are living on Birmingham’s streets.
Alice Westery says the organization currently assists over 300 people, and they believe there’s more.
“These young people, are young people that are couch surfing. They’re sleeping on the streets. They’re in the parks, in the abandoned buildings and abandoned homes, and even in their cars and trucks. They just need to know that there is a resource out there that is looking forward to helping and assisting young people in order for them to be able to have a hand up and not a hand out,” says Westery.
However, Westery says the homeless young adults usually face different struggles. She says most of them aged out of the foster care system and do not possess all the skills needed to function on their own.
Youth Towers teams up with 45+ organizations to provide education resources, mental health counseling, job/skills training, and much more.
Westery says they even provide classes on how to live independently.
In one of Birmingham’s northside communities, a house sits among the neighborhood. It looks similar to the other homes surrounding it. And Westery says that’s the point.
The home is furnished with a kitchen, bedrooms, living room, bathrooms, and outdoor space.
Westery says this important that it looks like a home and not an institution.
“The majority of the young people have already been traumatized by the looks of group homes and institutions and facilities, and that’s why we don’t even use those words- don’t even call it that, or shelter, because they are a continuum. This is home. These are houses. This is where they will be and let to look at and model, ‘OK, this is how a home is supposed to look and how it is supposed to feel,’ and then that environment is so important, so they won’t be triggered to have those same traumas, that same memory of the neglect, or the abuse that they’ve already went through. You know, where we can start to erase the negativity and start creating and drawing another picture.”
Westery says, this homeless age group just needs a chance.
In the last weeks, Youth Towers purchased a new location in Birmingham’s southside. Their goal is have a home in every single one of Birmingham’s communities and eventually in all “99 Birmingham neighborhoods”.
Within the new home, Westery says they need the community to help supply the items that make a house a home: like beds, refrigerators, dishwashers, couches and chairs, dining room sets, and other items.
Westery also says with the different programs Youth Towers has teamed up to offer, they need people to assist by buying bus passes, so the people they assist can make it to school, job interviews, work, and other services.
And Westery says the organization doesn’t plan to stop until their is no longer a need in the Birmingham area.
If you would like to learn more, you can visit their website.