The young and the homeless

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The cuts were particularly trying in the years immediately after the Great Recession of 2007-08. “We saw for a while families that were losing their homes, and their older kids winding up with us due to the economy,” Best said. “It was hard for us because we had very little resources. It was challenging trying to service the kids in the capacity that they needed to be helped.”

Despite the myriad challenges that Nia faces, she is not giving up, she said. She is studying part-time at Nassau Community College to earn an associate’s degree, and she wants to become a hairdresser.

“Any kid I know who is struggling, I would tell them to have faith,” she said. “Don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t do nothing that you want to do in life, because you can, you really can. Stay focused, stay away from negativity. Don’t follow people, because people got their own paths. If school is not for you, if college is not for you, then find a trade. If you do something, do it to your best advantage.”

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