Safe Place for Youth (SPY) - About Us

About Safe Place for Youth

Safe Place for Youth was founded by Alison Hurst in 2011 along with a group of dedicated volunteers, offering hot food, clothing, and socks to homeless youth in Venice Beach from their cars. Since those humble beginnings, we've been driven to give youth opportunities to transform by multiplying our services, building our programming, and strengthening our partnerships. With incredible support from Board Members, donors, volunteers, and partner organizations, SPY has grown from a 100% volunteer-led organization to a professional staff of nearly 80 employees, whose skill set has strengthened our programs. 

In April 2015, we moved into our own building in Venice, giving us the opportunity to expand programs, address youth needs, and partner with local specialty service providers. In Los Angeles there is a real urgency in addressing the issues of homelessness and SPY stays centrally involved in the discussions impacting policy change. The reality is that the numbers of homeless youth have increased to epidemic proportions, which means we must respond to the crisis by continuing to grow our programs and maintaining our leadership role with coalition groups working to end youth homelessness. 

To empower young people experiencing homelessness to thrive by providing lasting, community-driven solutions that address racial and social inequity.

Safe Place for Youth prioritizes low barriers for entry, harm-reduction, a trauma-informed approach, and the provision of a safe, supportive environment. We do this through a continuum of care that includes street outreach, access center services, case management, health and wellness, and education and employment programs. Learn more about our programs here.

Our Values

Safe Place for Youth was founded by community members out of a dire need for supportive services for youth experiencing, or at-risk of experiencing homelessness in West LA. As a community organization first and foremost, our mission is to empower young people experiencing homelessness to thrive by providing lasting, community-driven solutions that address racial and social inequity.

In order to move our mission forward, SPY is guided by these overarching organizational values.  


Championing diversity, celebrating individual identities, and creating equal access and opportunity; in recognizing that unique experiences and under-represented perspectives add value; and taking intentional action to include and affirm those who might otherwise be excluded. 


Taking initiative to creatively forge a path towards productive change, generating new solutions, and enhancing what currently exists; utilizing the process to facilitate opportunities for learning, adaptation, and growth. 


Being the standard bearer of accountability, dependability, respect, operating with honesty and transparency, and embodying personal and professional ethics 


Collectively cultivating an environment focused on collaboration and the sharing of ideas; in recognition of the strength of interconnections and partnerships 


Demonstrating authentic investment in the interest of others and ensuring that their value is affirmed through actions


Ensuring that resource and resilience are continually bolstered and replenished, such that their longevity is assured.