HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- While you're in the warmth of your own home, you might not realize the thousands of teens in CT are without a place to lay their heads at night.
However, some money coming into the state is going toward finding ways to cut those numbers.
Natalie Garcia is one of the many teens in Connecticut who is considered homeless.
“I originally became homeless because I got kicked out by my parents,” Garcia said.
She said she was kicked out after telling her parents she’s transgender, but after getting help from a local organization, she’s back on her feet.
“I went through some rough times but thanks to some help, I am able to get out of that and be able to have a job, get an apartment, all those kinds of things that are essential,” Garcia said.
Her success story is what these organizations strive to do.
The Connection Inc.’s John Lawlor is the director of Homeless Youth, which helps teens in the Hartford area.
“This is called the invisible population for a reason. When you're young and don't have a place to stay, you don't want people to know you don't have a place, you're homeless,” Lawlor said.
He said there are about 5,000 homeless teens in the state, which is a number that rises every year, and that's usually due to family issues.
“Family conflict, family rejections, family breakdown. So, the symptom we come across is the teen that's homeless, the symptom really the breakdown of family communication relationships so a lot of our services is to repair those relationships,” Lawlor said.
The state received $6.5 million through the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program.
It's being used to create crisis housing beds, like one in Hartford.
Youth navigators will work with teens to help them with community-based services.
Some money is also available for teens needing help with a down payment for an apartment.
Now that Garcia is on her own, she's helping others.
“I am able to get more resources for other young people. I know lots of young people like me who needs this resource, so I’m so thankful,” Garcia said.
If you're a teen who is homeless and needs help, call 2-1-1 and someone will connect you to a local program.