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South LA Stakeholders Reveal “Homeless No More Community Plan" To End Youth Homelessness
Unveiling of 6 strategic goals to build a system of care that prevents and ends youth homelessness
By: South LA Homeless TAY & Foster Care Collaborative
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) Point-In-Time Count, there are 8,713 homeless youth up to the age 24; and of that population, 4,046 are transition age youth 18-24. South Los Angeles had the second highest concentration of homeless youth totaling 2,016 and represents 23% of the County’s homeless youth population.
A year ago after the Collaborative’
The California Wellness Foundation and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas funded the Collaborative to get the community planning process underway.
The “Homeless No More Community Plan” has been a movement and engagement initiative to bring a broad and diverse group to the table and to foster dialogue about the intricate services and resources needed to serve youth of color in South Los Angeles. Participants include leaders across business, law enforcement, business, governmental, health, academic, interfaith, philanthropic, neighborhood councils, and nonprofit sectors as well as former and at-risk homeless youth.
“The South Los Angeles community is driving this plan in a strategic way. It is a people’s buy-in approach to lead and direct outcomes they want to see for their community,” said Grace Weltman, President of Communities In Motion and community planning consultant for the Collaborative.
The Collaborative and community partners release the “Homeless No More Community Plan” today, which outlines six bold strategic goals and actions to be implemented by 2019 to improve housing, employment, education, well-being, and personal development outcomes for South Los Angeles’ homeless youth.
From a series of workgroup meetings with over 150 stakeholders, the goals and actions target six priority areas for the region:
Housing: Increase and improve housing options for homeless youth.
Systems: Coordinate and enhance critical support systems and services targeting homeless and foster care youth.
Policy: Improve public policies and systems that address or omit homeless and at-risk youth.
Data and Research: Produce and compile data and research that best describes the opportunities, needs, and gaps of homeless and at-risk youth.
Capacity Building: Improve and expand the leadership, collaborative-
“This plan provides hope for a community that has lacked resources,” said Gerald Thompson, co-founder and director of the Collaborative.
“The community is giving me a better chance to succeed in this world, instead of becoming a common statistic. More resources will help local nonprofits like The RightWay Foundation continue to give us hope when it seems no one cares,” said Darlene Elias, former homeless foster youth and graduate of The RightWay Foundation.
Former, current, and at-risk homeless youth have been integral contributors to the plan and the day of unveiling events. The caterer, Latrina Wilcher of Sweet Tri Pastries and social entrepreneur who bakes goods and uses proceeds to feed vulnerable populations in Skid Row, is a graduate of Sanctuary of Hope’s mentoring and life coaching program.
Other nonprofit partners have taken leadership roles to promote character and leadership development, violence prevention, runaway and sex trafficking, such as The Positive Results Corporation and The Virtuous Woman Ministries, Inc.
Ultimately, the Collaborative believes that the community plan will be a mechanism and opportunity for key decision-makers, philanthropy, and community stakeholders to work in partnership to build a comprehensive and culturally-responsive system of care that benefits South Los Angeles’ youth.
Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Pastor of Holman United Methodist Church, LAHSA Commissioner, and Chair of the Collaborative concluded, “With the collective efforts of everyone involved, there will be no more hopelessness for South LA’s youth; and homelessness will be no more.”
Dignitaries in attendance: Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas, California State Senator Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Board of Commissioners Chair Kerry Morrison, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Los Angeles Field Office Director Ray Brewer.
About the South Los Angeles Homeless TAY and Foster Care Collaborative
The South Los Angeles Homeless TAY and Foster Care Collaborative is collaboration of business, government, nonprofits, and residents working to prevent and end homelessness for South Los Angeles’ transition age youth. For more information, visit the organization’
Community Plan Unveiling Event Details
Thursday, September 25, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, 90018
Janet Denise Kelly