We told you the incredible story Sunday night. A young woman showed us where she and other homeless teens have slept. That place was under the 16th street bridge. There’s a lot of room under there. She also revealed more about the “other life” many teens are living in Nebraska.
Gene Leahy Mall is a popular downtown destination but it’s also a popular spot for homeless teens. 19-year-old Tiphanie Faulkner used to spent a lot of time at Gene Leahy Mall.
“There's always a group here when they are going back and forth,” said Faulkner.
It’s known as "the wall" and it’s right across the street from the library, which is also a place where she says homeless teens spent time.
“There is at least 5 people there right now. I used to go to the library every day when it was cold,” said Faulkner.
A year ago Faulkner was homeless, living in abandoned apartments, on the streets and sometimes a shelter.
“Before I was homeless I didn't know that there was an option for teens,” said Faulkner.
Her option is here at the Youth Emergency Outreach Center. They serve more than 700 homeless teens across the Heartland.
Faulkner says without services like YES, she could have turned to sex trafficking.
“I've had people ask me to do it, I’ve had guys that I thought were my friends ask me if they could pimp me out,” said Faulkner. “It was entirely tempting. The money is tempting, everything is tempting about it. The nice clothes, the nice car. Even though you don't get all the money you get quite a bit of it.”
But she knew that would only be a temporary fix.
“I want more for myself, I want more for my community. I want to be that person that said yeah this is my success story and that there are other options,” said Faulkner.
And those options brought her back to YES and put her back on track, headed in a new direction.
Youth Emergency Services also has a registered nurse on staff three days a week at its center. They have resources to help teens with job searches and crisis intervention. The organization is always in need of donations.
Visit www.yesomaha.org for more details.