The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Street Outreach Program (SOP) supports runaway and homeless youth ages 18-24, by providing outreach and case management services in the District of Columbia. On the street and at our drop-in site, youth receive food, clothing, hygiene kits, and referrals to shelters, transitional housing programs and wrap-around services that include education, job training, and health care.
Youth homelessness has plagued the District of Columbia for many years; only in recent years have these youth been counted. The District of Columbia Public School system counted 1,169 students who were homeless in October 2010; this captures only youth who choose to self-identify to school homelessness liaisons; the true number is certainly higher. Currently, 90 youth are on the waiting list for LAYC's temporary housing services.
LAYC's SOP staff work with youth to identify short-term alternatives to street life and long-term housing and/or family reunification. Staff work to increase young people's safety, well-being, and self-sufficiency, and help youth build permanent connections with caring adults.
LAYC's SOP program will help 100 youth exit homelessness, allowing them to access the resources they need to become self-sufficient.