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Sanctuary of Hope (SOH), a local nonprofit youth development and human service organization for Transitional Age Youth, will kick-off National Homeless Youth Awareness Month with a community event titled “Youth Resiliency” tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd, in Los Angeles.

This event is expected to attract more than 100 diverse community representatives to shine a light on the drivers of youth at-risk of or experiencing homelessness as well as their resiliency to persevere. Attendees will engage in an evening of networking and hear from a formerly at risk youth panel. 

The second event will be an inaugural South Bay Homeless Youth Awareness Month Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hawthorne Memorial Center (Venus Room), 3901 W. El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne. This event will be an engaging morning of highlighting youth and community resources on the front lines of charting a path to sustained youth resiliency. The guest keynote speaker will be Sheryl Recinos, MD, author of the book “Hindsight”, a memoir of her journey from youth homelessness to becoming a physician. The event will also feature panelists from the Los Angeles Unified School District, El Camino College, Harbor Interfaith, and the Sanctuary of Hope. The Master of Ceremonies will be acclaimed radio personality Wes Hall. 

Addressing the crisis of youth homelessness requires more than a place to live. Youth need a helping and supportive hand up in every aspect of their lives in order to have a positive outlook on life. Strong support systems coupled with housing resources are essential strategies to stabilization when youth experience a homeless crisis. 

Youth homelessness in South Los Angeles is reportedly different than other parts of the city of Los Angeles. Youth homelessness has a predominantly Black and Brown face. They are an invisible, underserved, and undercounted population because they are unlikely to identify themselves as “homeless” and engage differently with services. 

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2019 Homeless Youth Point-In-Time Count revealed that youth experiencing homelessness is a rapidly growing population. A little over 4,000 youth experience at least one night of homelessness in Los Angeles County – a 24-percent increase from the prior year. Of the 4,000, nearly 650 are in the South Los Angeles region. 

“The Homeless Youth Awareness events will be a reminder of what’s necessary for prevention and stabilization efforts for youth experiencing homelessness locally,” said Janet Denise Kelly, executive director of Sanctuary of Hope. “Although we have made progress in increasing resources and housing capacity in our region, we still need to remain vigilant in securing more for our community because our uniqueness doesn’t resonate as loud in circles of influence. The narrative we tell and the mobilization behind it requires ongoing actions to strengthen ‘systems’ and ‘structures’ in which youth can thrive.” 

The Homeless Youth Awareness Month kick-off is a free community event as key stakeholders in the South Bay Area are invited to attend the breakfast. Attendees are asked to RSVP to both events by visiting www.thesoh.org.events Interested sponsors should email info@thesoh.org for more details. 

SOH provides housing and education stabilization services to vulnerable youth and young adult populations between the ages of 16-25.

Contact SOH at (323) 786-2413.