Queens —

At 18, Lyndon Hernandez found himself at the doors of an adult homeless shelter in Manhattan. He left home in Jamaica, Queens after experiencing domestic violence. He had also watched his older brother’s mental health decline.

For the next six years, Hernandez experienced the shortcomings in housing options and mental health care in the city’s three overlapping shelter systems — those for youth, adults and families. He re-entered the adult shelter system several times, as he couldn’t afford the housing he received through supportive programs after temporary rent aid ran out. The stress drove him to attempt suicide.

Now 26 and the father of a five-year-old son, he’s earned a salary as the co-chair of the Coalition for Homeless Youth action board for the last two years and has secured a job as a peer navigator for Good Shepherd Services in the Bronx, eager to help other youth avoid the experiences he had. He feels he’s finally found a job that fulfills him and pays his bills.

“I’ve been homeless for that long,” Hernandez recalled. “It’s not a bad thing to be at a point where I’m strong enough to acknowledge that.”