May 19, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Opening Homes for Homeless Youth

Demystified negative stereotypes with SPY’s Home Host Program.

By Keldine Hull

It’s no secret that California has one of the highest homelessness rates in the country. According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, there are 129, 972 homeless people currently living in California; 89,543 of which are unsheltered. The numbers are staggering and expected to increase over time. As the State continues to struggle with methods to help those in need, dedicated individuals within the community have stepped up to offer a helping hand.

Safe Place for Youth began as a 100 percent volunteer-based organization in 2011, offering clothing and food to the homeless youth from the trunks of their own cars. Located in Venice, SPY is now one of the leading organizations in the fight to end homelessness. Their Host Home Program provides a unique solution that matches those in need of shelter with individuals willing to open their homes to help others.

Andrew Gutierrez III is the Host Home Program Coordinator and offers insight into what the organization hopes to achieve through the new program. “Young people are the fastest growing group to experience homelessness. With rental costs increasing, lack of access to educational and employment opportunities with adequate wages, it is very difficult for young people to afford to live in Los Angeles,” Gutierrez explains.  “The main goal of SPY’s Host Home Program is to pair community members who have underutilized spaces in a homes with transitional-aged youth who are experiencing homelessness. The Host Home Program enables SPY’s youth members to access short-term housing while building meaningful connections with caring adults in their community. Youth guests stay in their Host Home anywhere between 3 to 6 months while working with SPY’s case management and counseling services.”

Not only does the Host Home Program provide housing for those in need, it also serves to help eradicate the stigma surrounding homelessness. “Being a host has demystified negative stereotypes often associated by mainstream media about youth experiencing homelessness, i.e. all homeless youth are struggling with drug abuse, choose to be homeless, or do not have any goals or aspirations,” Gutierrez explains. “Once hosts interact and begin to understand their guests’ story, they realize youth have a variety of reasons that have contributed towards them experiencing homelessness and most is not by choice but rather due to systemic issues and inequities.”

With a safe roof over their head, youth guests can focus on finding employment, education, and long-term housing opportunities. Gutierrez continues, “Youth guests are able to develop genuine relationships with caring adults in their community which has empowered both hosts and guests to be involved with the movement in fighting homelessness such as advocacy and community engagement, speaking at city council meetings, sharing their story, and recruiting other youth and hosts to be a part of the Host Home Program.”

In a little over a year, the Host Home Program has already had a positive impact within the community, especially for those involved in the program. “There have been several success stories, however one that stands out is one of our members who came to SPY after living in front of an abandoned home,” Gutierrez explains. “They got connected to SPY’s supportive services and joined our Host Home Program. While staying in their Host Home for six months, the young person was able to gain job experience, receive case management and support in searching for long-term housing. They were also able to live with a caring adult who shared similar hobbies such as music and singing. The young person was able to move into their own apartment with the help of SPY’s Housing Case Managers as well as obtain a job in homelessness services. The young person is now working with other youth who experience homelessness in hopes of empowering and providing support to others.”

With the holiday season here, the country is reminded more than ever of the importance of giving back to those in need. “It is very important for community members to get involved with helping fight homelessness because it affects everyone. Our community is impacted when its young people are not able to live healthy lives,” Gutierrez explains. “I would encourage community members to have an open mind and engage with young people experiencing homelessness. Whether that’s volunteering at SPY, becoming a host or saying ‘Hello!’ to someone living on the street in your community. Let us re-humanize our young people who have often felt ignored and become a part of the solution by becoming involved in the movement to fight homelessness.”

To learn more about SPY and how you can get involved, visit: http://www.safeplaceforyouth.org

Related Posts

Mayor Bass Orders Increased Police Presence on LA Metro After Surge in Violence

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

A Shocking Murder Was Committed on a Metro Bus After Announcement Mayor Karen Bass has directed an increase in law...

Inaugural Design Miami.LA Fair Opens in Holmby Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

Exclusive Access and Dynamic Talks From May 16-20 The inaugural edition of Design Miami.LA opened yesterday, running until May 20,...

(Video) Design Miami LA Is Now Open in Holmby Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

Sainte Marguerite en Provence Is the exclusive rosé sponsor. Welcome to the Greenhouse. @centurycitywestwoodnews Design Miami LA Is Now Open...

Shock-A-Go-Go Film Festival Returns to Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

A Weekend of Horror, and Cult Classics With Exclusive Q&A Sessions The Shock-A-Go-Go Film Festival is set to return to...

Devastating Fire Closes Historic Westwood Restaurant, Causing Serious Damage

May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024

Roozbeh Farahanipour Launches GoFundMe to Restore Cultural Tribute The Persian Gulf Restaurant and Museum in Westwood has sustained serious damage...

Culver City Police Seek Help in Identifying Elderly Woman Found Near Hospital

May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024

Urgent Assistance Needed to Locate Family of Disoriented Woman Culver City Police are urgently seeking the public’s assistance in identifying...

Beverly Hills Art Show Returns for Spring Weekend Extravaganza

May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024

Join the Celebration of Art in Beverly Gardens Park Art aficionados and families are invited to join the City of...

UAW 4811 Votes Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike Against University of California System

May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024

Union Responds to Alleged Unfair Labor Practices with Strike Authorization Vote United Auto Workers 4811, the International Union, United Automobile,...

Metro Offers Free Rides to Billie Eilish’s Hit Me Hard and Soft Listening Party

May 15, 2024

May 15, 2024

Fans Provided Convenient Transportation Options to Kia Forum Venue With excitement building for Billie Eilish’s much-anticipated Hit Me Hard and...

(Video) Hang-Ten Therapeutics Uses Sand, Ocean and Surfboards as a Source of Empowerment

May 15, 2024

May 15, 2024

More Information at hang-tentherapuetics.com @centurycitywestwoodnews Surf therapy is a source of empowerment #therapy #surfing #losangeles #fyp #santamonica ♬ original sound...

FBI and DHS Warn of Potential Threats to LGBTQIA+ Events in June

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

Foreign Terrorist Organizations Could Target Pride Celebrations The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are alerting the public to...

Former Riverside Resident to Plead Guilty to Hate Crimes Against Jewish Men

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

Man Agrees to Face Justice for Pico-Robertson Area Shooting A former Riverside resident who shot and wounded two Jewish men...

Teenage Students Fall Ill After Ingesting Cannabis Edibles on Field Trip

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

Incident Occurs at La Brea Tar Pits; Students Transported to Hospitals Eight teenage students fell ill during a field trip...

Palmer Candy Company Recalls “White Coated Confectionary Items” Over Salmonella Concerns

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

Products Distributed in California Stores Pose Potential Health Risk Palmer Candy Company has issued a voluntary recall of its “White...