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Former Foster Care young adults create support system during pandemic

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:59 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Those who aged-out of the foster care system can have difficulty building a support network, especially during the pandemic. Twenty-two-year-old Nedhal Al-Kazahy said her experience with the pandemic has taken her life off course, but she’s doing what she has to do to keep a roof over her head.

“I don’t have the cards to go to college, and work and pay bills. I wish I could, but I don’t,” said Al-Kazahy.

Nedhal stopped going to school to work. It’s not a decision she wanted to make, but the pandemic forced her hand.

“I didn’t know how I was going to pay for anything,” said Al-Kazahy

Nedhal entered the foster care system at five, living in roughly over 20 foster homes. She is one of the 42% of Nebraska’s foster care youth that aged-out of the system. She is building her support system from almost scratch in the middle of a pandemic.

“I didn’t know how I was going to pay for anything,” said Al-Kazahy. “I was trying to save and not going anywhere but it was like, how do I get groceries? How do I do anything?

Nedhal is what the state considers an unconnected youth.

“That time when you go from being a teenager to a young adult is a pivotal time,” said Rose Hood-Buss, The Hub “For the young adults that we serve, when they don’t have a concrete support system, it makes that transition all the much harder.”

They work to connect youth that have aged out of the system with the resources they need. The pandemic certainly highlighted the need, The Hub saw a 50% increase in people they’ve helped.

“Most of them were housing supports,” said Rose Hood-Buss, The Hub. “The housing need was great when most of them are working in the service industry and their jobs were either closed, or their hours were reduced greatly.”

Nedhal got care packages individualized to her needs and rent assistance. Now it’s a matter of saving enough money to get back to school so she can do the thing she’s most passionate about, pursuing her degree in criminal justice. With one goal in mind:

“Change the system, even it’s just a slight little change,” said Al-Kazahy.

If you are interested in helping people like Nedhal, The Hub has a space where you can donate.

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