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    Homeless teens - Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Sam Campbell was just shy of his 18th birthday when he found himself homeless. He would walk the streets of downtown Biddeford for hours, the only place he felt safe.

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    Homeless teens - Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Campbell walks to an appointment to see a Portland apartment. He is one of more than 1,400 Maine students who are homeless and on their own. Youth homelessness often doesn't fit the stereotypes of adults panhandling or crowding onto mats in emergency shelters. It can mean sleeping at a friend's home, couch surfing, staying in a hotel or living outdoors.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Now 19 and preparing to graduate from high school, Campbell stretches shortly after arriving for class at the Alternative Pathways Center in Biddeford. He comes to classes twice a week, riding a school bus that picks him up in Portland and drops him off in Biddeford.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Housed in a former rectory, the Alternative Pathways Center run by the Biddeford school department offers individualized education plans for students who need a smaller environment or to recover credits to graduate. Eleven of the 40 students in the program have been homeless at some point this school year.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    There's a kitchen, food pantry, laundry room and closet of donated clothing at the Alternative Pathways Center. Campbell grabbed a muffin before heading to work at his usual table.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Campbell watches for the school bus that will take him back to Portland. Under federal law, homeless students who are staying outside of the town they are from are allowed to continue going to their school of origin. That provides stability for students, but also can create transportation challenges for school districts.

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    Homeless teens - Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Campbell heads from school in Biddeford to temporary housing in Portland. A Biddeford social worker was able to help him connect with services through Opportunity Alliance, but his temporary housing was only available because he is 18.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    During April school vacation, Campbell has a list of errands: pick up new sneakers, a job interview, and his first apartment showing in Portland.

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    After months of sleeping on couches and walking the streets at night, Campbell now stays in a three-floor facility operated by Opportunity Alliance's MaineStay program. The program has eight beds for young adults and provides shelter and support as they learn the skills needed to finish their education, find jobs and live independently.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    At MaineStay, Campbell shares this small bedroom on the third floor with a roommate. Most participants stay six months to a year and have experienced homelessness.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Sam Campbell, standing, second from right, attends a meeting at the MaineStay house. Resources like MaineStay can be hard to find when you're on your own, Campbell says. Quiet and unassuming, he now organizes games with his housemates and oversees care of the program's pet rabbit. When it's his night to cook dinner, he often makes a family recipe for spaghetti bake.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Sam Campbell makes his way down the stairs at the MaineStay house. He will graduate from high school in June and hopes to go to college to study something in the computer technology field.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    When he was alone with nowhere to go, Campbell walked up and down Main Street in Biddeford for hours through the night, skipping sleep. With police officers on regular patrol, it was the only place he felt safe.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Campbell pauses to check his GPS while searching for an apartment. In Biddeford, the number of homeless students has doubled in the past decade, from 24 to 53, even as the overall student population has decreased.

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    Homeless teens - Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette | of | Share this photo

    Shevenell Park in downtown Biddeford is one of the places Campbell spent time when he first became homeless. As he saves his money, Campbell looks at listings, taking note of the rent, proximity to bus stops and condition of appliances. But really, he's not very picky. "I just want a place I can call home," he said.

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