SPY Housing Programs
Los Angeles is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. Escalating rents that outpace wages and a shortfall of over 500,000 affordable units for low-income households causes many individuals to be priced out of the housing market. When accounting for housing costs and other costs of living expenses, nearly 1⁄4 of LA County residents live in poverty—this is the highest rate in California. These economic factors can make it difficult for young people to locate affordable, stable, and safe housing.
Proposition HHH, a city ballot measure that commits millions of dollars to the building of 10,000 supportive and affordable housing units over the next 10 years, has accelerated the city’s work to combat and prevent homelessness in unprecedented ways. Although the number of youth housing placements increased in 2018, so too did the number of youth falling into homelessness. The housing developments yielded by Prop HHH over the next ten years will not address the desperate needs of the youth on the streets with the immediacy that it requires; they simply cannot be built fast enough. While on the streets, youth are vulnerable to exploitation, victimization, and increased dangers. They are also far more likely to engage in substance use and delinquent behavior, drop out of school, suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, and mental illness.
Since our founding, Safe Place for Youth has focused on providing a safe space for at-risk and unhoused youth to receive critical resources and a connection to community. Our “hub of hope” Access Center in Venice offers day services to nearly 1,000 youth annually, including on-site housing assessment and connection to available housing programs. Yet, at the end of each day, a majority of the young people we serve have to go back out onto the streets to sleep at night.
The lack of available housing programs for youth in West Los Angeles has been our greatest challenge in helping young people achieve stability. To combat this, Safe Place for Youth, as part of our strategic plan (2017-2020) launched several interim housing programs.
- Host Home Program. This program pairs an unhoused young person with a community member who has a spare room to offer.
- Roots to Grow. Transitional housing operated in partnership with Venice Community Housing.
- The Nest. This transitional housing program is designed for young people who are pregnant or parenting.
- A Bridge Home Venice (ABH). Part of Los Angeles’ A Bridge Home Program, SPY manages 54-beds reserved specifically for TAY (ages 18-24) at this transitional housing facility.
- Connect LA. This is a family reunification program that helps TAY build positive and healthy relationships with family to reconnect and achieve housing stability with family support.
Learn more about our innovative housing programs below.
Host Home Program
Launched in 2017 as a Pilot Program, SPY’s Host Home Program has now been fully integrated into our continuum of care. Host Home Programs have been tested and implemented throughout the UK and North America as an innovative way to respond to the growing need for emergency shelter options. Highlighted by NPR, our Host Home Program matches volunteer hosts in Los Angeles with SPY youth for short-term stays of 3-6 months. The first to be launched in LA County, SPY’s Host Home Program targets young adults, ages 18-25, who are pursuing academic and employment goals, enrolled in Rapid Re-Housing or equipped with a Section 8 voucher, and who are need of bridge housing for a 3-6 month period of time. During their stays, youth can take advantage of our Access Center resources including our Housing Case Management Program, Education and Employment Program, and Counseling. Desired hosts are welcoming, non-judgmental individuals, couples, or families with a spare room or converted private space to offer, and are committed to helping youth experiencing homelessness lead safe, stable, and self-directed lives. Hosts are offered financial stipends of up to $500/month to cover any additional costs incurred for room and board such as increased housing utilities. To find out more you can send us an email at [email protected] or visit our Host Home Page.
Roots to Grow
The Roots to Grow Program is a 20-bed transitional housing program at two sites in West Los Angeles that provides transition-age-youth (TAY), between the ages of 18-24, with stable housing for up to 36 months. In partnership with Venice Community Housing (VCH), the Roots to Grow Program offers youth intensive case management, meals, and job readiness, and workforce training while they search for more permanent housing.
The Nest is designed to serve pregnant and parenting youth and their children who are experiencing homelessness. As part of the program, young parents receive no-cost housing for up to 36 months, education and employment training, and supportive family services that are necessary to permanently exit homelessness and transition into a healthy, stable life. The Nest currently houses 10 young parents and their children across two sites in Inglewood.
A Bridge Home Venice
Part of the Mayors and Los Angeles’ A Bridge Home Program, SPY manages 54-beds reserved specifically for TAY (ages 18-24) at this transitional housing facility. It is the first transitional housing program to offer shelter beds for youth on the Westside of Los Angeles. SPY staff provides a comprehensive range of services at ABH, including case management, education and employment support, health and wellness programming, access to legal counsel, and more.
Family conflict is one of the greatest factors involved in housing instability among youth. Through our youth and family reconnection program, Connect LA, Transition Age Youth (TAY) are supported with building and strengthening positive and healthy relationships with biological or non-biological family. The primary objective of the Connect LA Program is to reduce the amount of time a young person experiences homelessness by connecting them back with family members, or linking them to community resources that enable them to achieve housing stability with family support.