Formerly homeless mother now an attorney helping youth in need

Posted at 9:36 PM, Sep 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-18 23:36:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Nicole Lowe was once a homeless teenager on the streets of Salt Lake City, but now she's an attorney who helps young people struggling with homelessness.

Lowe has written a book about her past, hoping it might help shape the future for others.

She has a demanding day job.

“I'm an Assistant Attorney General in the child protection division, so I represent DCFS in child welfare cases before the juvenile court,” Lowe said.

And a rewarding passion.

“I provide free legal services to any of the youth who come into the shelter, and they range from 15 to 22 years old,” she said.

She founded the legal clinic at the Volunteers of America Youth Resource Center in Salt Lake City, which shelters upward of 80 homeless young adults each night. Resource Center Director Sarah Strang describes a common conundrum those young adults face.

“It starts as something small,” she said. “Maybe I got a ticket for trespassing, or for not being able to pay for a TRAX ticket, but I don't have an address to send that information to, so what happens is I miss my court dates and then those roll over to warrants, and then when I’m looking for employment, that can be a huge barrier because I can't pass a background check.”

Lowe helps clients clean up their past, one piece at a time—just like she did.

“I was on the streets from the age of 13 to 16,” Lowe said.

Her new book, “Never Let Me Go” chronicles her experiences.

“I ended up pregnant when I was 16 years old,” Lowe said. “And the whole time I was pregnant, my plan was to go back out and live the hippie life, and get a VW bus and deal drugs.”

A change of heart, changed everything else.

“When he was born, I couldn't do it,” Lowe said of the birth of her son.

That change of heart marked the beginning the journey to the woman she is today.

“I really want people to understand that kids, like me, and these throw away kids, can come back around, they can become somebody great, somebody who is making a difference in the world,” she said.

Nicole Lowe's book is available on Amazon and Kindle, and at Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City.