Homelessness in Anoka County: Youth without a place to call ‘home’
Homelessness is not someone else’s problem. It’s here in Anoka County, and various organizations are working to address it. In a special three-part series, ABC Newspapers reporters dive into the issue to shine a light on what homelessness looks like locally and how organizations across the county are banding together to eliminate it.
Week one defines the problem and the experience of homelessness. Week two explores how homelessness touches Anoka County youth. Week three describes various ways members of the community can help.
Nic Tidwell, 18, has bounced from school to school his whole life because his family “didn’t really have a stable situation,” he said. “(We) couldn’t afford where we were living.”
Tidwell’s dad is not in the picture, and when his mom lost custody, he went to live with his grandmother.
One night, he was caught after curfew with an illegal firearm and a switch blade. Tidwell was sent to the East Central Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Lino Lakes before seeking treatment for methamphetamine use at a center in Plymouth.
With medical issues of her own to deal with, Tidwell’s grandmother was unable to care for him when he finished treatment.
“She can’t really take care of me when she can barely take care of herself,” Tidwell said.
So, he was left without a place to live – homeless.
In Minnesota, 46 percent of the homeless population are under age 22, according to Wilder Research.