A South Sound woman started the nonprofit Homestead to help the growing number of homeless youth in Pierce County.
“They're victims really of maybe a dysfunctional family or maybe dysfunctional situations," Sue Braaten said.
There's a growing number of homeless youth in Pierce County with a limited number of safe shelters where they can go.
With the help of a significant financial donation, Braaten and her Homestead team bought a property to house young homeless women in Tacoma.
They received furniture donations and others resources and opened the home in January. They connected with REACH in Tacoma to find young women in need.
Five young women moved in this year, including 19-year-old Naya Delfin.
"I wasn't living; I was surviving. I was just making it out there," she said.
Delfiin said she left a physically and emotionally abusive home environment before she was 18.
"I've moved around 16 times in 2016 all over Pierce County and King County," Delfin said.
Her story is similar to her friend, 18-year-old Sienna Trujillo, who also lives in the home after she said her mother kicked her out of their Parkland home when she was 14.
"First I was sleeping on a mat on a floor where there were bugs,” Trujillo said. “Now I'm sleeping on a bed in a bedroom. It's like, ‘What just happened here?’ There are so many kids under the age of 24 trying to get housed. It’s a long process."
The five women sign a lease for a year, and the goal is move them into full independence.
"After you get housed, your goal is to get a job, and then after you get a job and you start having it, you can stay paying 30 percent of your rent," said Delfin.
Both young women said they are working to get their high school diplomas.
In the meantime, they’re thankful they have a safe place to sleep at night.
"Having a roof over my head is definitely great,” said Delfin. “I love knowing I have a place to come home to."
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