We are pleased to share with you the story of one of the youth we've worked with the past three months. Jonathan Williams is a happy, thriving young man with a loving and supportive family. At 21, he is high school graduate with dreams of flying planes for the Air Force. Just three months ago, Jonathan had been homeless for six years. After Jonathan's mother passed away when he was 15 and no father in his life, he learned how to survive on the streets.
Today, a couple in Prince George’s County in Maryland is Jonathan's loving and supportive family. The family participates in LAYC's transitional living program, an 18-month host home for homeless youth 16-22 years of age. LAYC found Jonathan through its street outreach program and within a few weeks, Jonathan was enrolled in LAYC's case management services, receiving the supports he needs, and stably housed. Jonathan is now able to be a young person exploring his career and educational goals. For example, the program connected Jonathan with an Air Force recruiter and a program alum who served in the military. Jonathan is also exploring a career in construction management, has applied for admission to Price George’s County Community College, and he is working on an application for a New Futures Scholarship.
The youth we serve, advocate for, and care about depend on us to believe in them and their dreams, and most of all to give them a chance. On any given night, the District of Columbia has an estimated 500 homeless youth; virtually all of them are on the street through no fault of their own. This is why we do our work, so that homeless youth can have a stable place to live, a good support network, and are able to improve their lives.
Thank you for your continued support of our project. Please consider making a generous donation to our project this holiday season.
P.S. Watch Jonathan discuss how he became homeless in this video produced by community partner DC Alliance of Youth Advocates.
Summer months are particularly busy months for the Street Outreach Program. Over the past three months, the program reached roughly 120 youth. One of those youth is Ziggy. Ziggy is a young woman who identifies as LGBTQ and expressed that she had had problems with her family due to her sexual orientation. Ziggy had been staying in friends’ houses (couch surfing), in the streets, and in buses. Like many youth in her situation, she did not feel comfortable going to adult homeless shelters given her sexual orientation. LAYC placed Ziggy in a transitional living program, and she is now focused on going back to school and finishing high school. Ziggy is a charismatic young woman with immense potential. She is an avid participant in LAYC’s social group for LGBTQ youth where she is an educator for LGBTQ rights. Watch Ziggy in Why We Count: Homeless Youth in America, by LAYC community partner The Urban Alliance.
Your donations and overall support help make these much needed services available to the youth like Ziggy who are most in need. Our dedicated staff works hard every day to connect these young people to the best available resources so that their cycle of homelessness can end and the opportunity for stability and self-sufficiency is possible. Thank you so much for your support and please spread the word about LAYC's Street Outreach Program.
LAYC is excited to announce that we will be implementing a new transitional living program starting this fall. This program will target homeless or runaway youth between the ages of 18-24 who identify as LGBTQ. Services for this population of homeless or runaway youth are particularly warranted given their high numbers and lack of shelters and programs geared towards their specific needs. Participants will live in single occupancy apartments for up to nine months and receive supports to meet personal, educational, and career goals, and ultimately transition to stable housing.
LAYC's Street Outreach Program (SOP) comes into contact daily with homeless and runway youth who are in need of a safe and stable place to live. There are various paths to homelessness for these youth, but all are in need of resources unique to young adults.
Your donation and community support have enabled street outreach workers to provide a variety of greatly needed services: snacks and hot meals to youth who are living on the street and in shelters, assistance with building resumes and preparing for job interviews, referrals to emergency and transitional housing programs, connection with educational opportunities, assistance with obtaining government IDs and accessing legal services, and providing appropriate clothing for job interviews and other professional opportunities.
We have connected youth with transitional living programs to place them in stable living environments where they can build work experience and financial stability, obtain educational goals, and work towards independent living. Jane is one of these youth. She is a young lady who became homeless when she lost her student loans and had to withdraw from school. Jane turned to the Street Outreach Program for help with obtaining stable housing, continuing her education, and finding employment. With the help of Street Outreach Program staff, Jane was referred and accepted into a transitional housing program where she was able to meet her goal of financial stability, was able to re-enroll in school, and move into her own place after completing the program with a significant amount of savings in the bank.
Your donation and overall support help make these much needed services available to the youth in our community who are most in need. Our dedicated staff work hard every day to connect these young people to the best available resources so that their cycle of homelessness can end and the opportunity for stability and self-sufficiency is possible. Thank you so much for your support and please spread the word about the services our Street Outreach Program can provide!
As the temperatures plummet in the District, homeless and runaway youth find themselves competing for shelter and other services. LAYC's Street Outreach Program (SOP) has been busy striving to help 100 youth exit homelessness during the winter months. In November 2012, we organized a "Help the Homeless Community Walk" to raise awareness and funds for our SOP services.
With your donation and the support of the community, Street Outreach workers provided referrals to shelters and transitional housing programs; connected youth to education and workforce opportunities; helped youth obtain health insurance and government IDs; and were busy procuring resources such as hot meals, clothing, hygiene kits, and more. Esteban is one of the youth we have recently worked with to help him get back on his feet.
Esteban is a 20-year old Latino youth who was sleeping in the doorway of a local church when a concerned community member told him about LAYC's SOP. Esteban arrived at the drop-in center later that day and began working with a Street Outreach worker. We gave him food, a place to shower, and clean clothes. He was referred to a short term shelter program with a partner organization and for the first time in weeks had a safe place to stay. He continued to work with us to apply for health insurance, enroll in school, and find a job. Due to his efforts and exemplary behavior in the short term shelter, Esteban was accepted into a longer term, transitional housing program where he continues working towards his goals of self sufficiency.
We hope to continue the good work of assisting our city’s most vulnerable youth and cannot do it without you! Thank you for your generous donations and support of this vital program. Each day presents a new set of challenges for an entire community of youth without a safe, stable place to call home. Please consider telling others about the Latin American Youth Center’s Street Outreach Program and don’t hesitate to contact me for other ways to help.
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