Denver, Colorado (CNN) — When the sun dips below the Rocky Mountains and the streets of Denver go dark, Lokki, his girlfriend Magic and their friend Tripp head home. They climb in between the rafters of a highway overpass, crouching as they sit under the concrete structure that rumbles with every car that crosses overhead. It is where they will sleep tonight. It is where they say they can live safely after escaping from abusive homes.

“It’s pretty hard,” says Magic, 18, when asked about living on the streets. “But most of the time it’s just life, you know. Life’s not going to be easy.”

She refuses to talk about what caused her to leave home.

Her boyfriend Lokki has a different outlook: He says he enjoys the fun and freedom of life on the streets.

“I don’t really have to worry about anything,” says Lokki, 20. “I get some food and kick back with the homies.”

Out of the three friends, Tripp seems to be the most concerned about the future. He says he began living on the streets two years ago, after escaping a violent relationship with his stepfather.

“If I defended myself against him, I always got looked at badly,” he said. “So when I turned 18, I left.”

He stops talking as he watches a homeless man walk by.

“I’d hate to think that’s the way I’m going,” says Tripp. “That I’m going to end up being 40 years old and on the streets.”

Getting off the streets is a daunting challenge for these young adults and others like them, who have no address, no job, very little education, and many times drug addictions and mental health issues.

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AUTHOR

NN4Y

DATE

July 8, 2010

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