Carli, a 17-year old HSRA student, gracefully took the podium at the outdoor groundbreaking event for Prior Crossings, a new, 44-unit apartment building being built to house homeless youth at the intersection of University and Prior Avenues in St. Paul. While addressing the audience, comprised of community members, public officials, and dignitaries, Carli riveted the crowd with her heart-felt remarks.
“I was homeless because my mom went to prison. Nobody knows what it’s like to be homeless, coming to school hungry, not knowing what you’re going to eat. But through it all, I held my head up high and now I’m college-bound and doing great. I am in wonderful housing now, thanks to Paris [Paris Yarbrough, HSRA homeless liaison] and the staff at HSRA.”
It’s not easy to stand in front of a crowd and tell such a personal story. Carli’s speech was interrupted numerous times with the audience cheering and applauding as she told her touching success story.
Prior Crossings is a joint effort, led by Beacon Interfaith, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, House of Hope Presbyterian Church, the State of Minnesota, and numerous faith-based organizations from around the Twin Cities.
When the apartment building is finished, it will house some of the 40 percent of HSRA students who are homeless and/or highly mobile. And, when the apartment building opens, the fortunate, new apartment dwellers will have Carli in some part to thank for their new lease on life.