Young Adult Advocacy Board aids Homeless Coalition with underserved population

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)- Brittany Stowers grew up experiencing homelessness and while attending school she lived out of her car and couch surfed.

“I was a full-time student and I was also a full-time employee. I was really trying to juggle my personal life as well and it was just very hard because I didn’t know where I was going to be. I didn’t know if my grades will be able to withstand the lifestyle I was living,” said Stowers.

She says now that she is no longer homeless she is giving back to the community particularly those 18-24 who are experiencing the same things she did.

“If I’m in a better position I know I can help somebody who isn’t.,” said Stowers.

Homeless coalition executive director Wendy Winters says this is often an overlooked population because they are not homeless in the traditional sense but they still need assistance.

“Already they have provided the voice and taught us so much about youth experiencing homelessness that we would not have known without their input,” said Winters.

“What I’ve run into a lot with 18 to 24-year-olds as they don’t like the word homeless. The fact is it’s not a bad word. It’s genuinely not. It’s something that is the first step in getting help,” said Stowers.

Stowers says since the brain continues to develop until 24 assistance young adults out of homelessness helps prevent the typically thought about version.

“Oh you’re young you are strong you can get through this you’re in the very first stages of your life. If we catch somebody out there, when they’re young, and their couch surfing is living out of their car and we catch them in the first stages they don’t have to be that 45 you’re a chronic homeless person,” said Stowers.

The organization started up during the pandemic which has caused a few bumps along the way but they are navigating it.

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