While we focus on solutions to tackle the epic LA homeless crisis, it is vital that we acknowledge that young people exiting foster care are the most likely to become homeless and their children are at the greatest risk of falling further into the spiral of homelessness.
Nearly one hundred times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care. Los Angeles County alone has over 33,000 foster youth in care who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The highest in the nation.
70% of girls who age out of the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21. That is 600% more likely than the general population to become pregnant before the age of 21. 85% of those ASOH serves are young women and 50% have their own children. The National Scientific Council Report attributes substandard housing and separation from parent(s), among the main factors that are toxic to the developing brain. The next generation who are at risk of going into foster care and/ or being among the most disenfranchised children in America are able to live in a healthful home and avoid being taken away from their young parents and placed in the system in which their parents ensured.
The young people we serve were removed from their families because their parents couldn’t care for them. Being homeless might be the cause for authorities to intervene and remove a child from a parent. Not having a bed for a child to sleep on, furniture and appliances to ensure a child can be fed, or having a space to study might trigger authorities to remove a child from a parent’s care. If not for ASOH young people who survived the foster care system and are now raising their own children might have their children taken from them.
ASOH intervenes in breaking the cycle of generational poverty, homelessness, and the revolving door of children coming from foster care having their own children put into the very foster care system that they survived. Our program provides an investment for the family – much like how a small business grant provides a gratis microloan to a start-up. ASOH invests in the family’s future by giving and installing over 250 items that serve as tools to build a future. Each item is carefully selected to serve the individual’s goals and aspirations.
Furniture poverty impedes an individual’s (or family’s) ability to properly inhabit and function in their shelter undermining their health and productivity in work and school. The 250+ item “home kit” that is designed and lovingly installed by the ASOH community transforms the path of a young person’s (and/or family’s) life from surviving to thriving. Empirical evidence in environmental psychology has found that an inhabitant flourishes in their home when the home reflects their personality and aspirations. The ASOH model not only provides the basic necessities for an individual to improve their lives but a stable environment that transforms and inspires youth to surpass their goals.
ASOH is not a one size fits all approach. We take into account each individual in the family’s educational pursuits, careers, and wellness goals. In a society leaving too many behind too quickly, ASOH is providing an opportunity for the broader community to seamlessly step and lovingly show up for our neighbors and serve as an extended family for the day. The approach ensures individuals and families are seen and heard. And in doing so invites these young people into being valued members of our community.
ASOH keeps families together, prevents homelessness, and creates a vehicle for Angelenos to bare their humanity to one another. We invite you to join us in sponsoring a home, contribute to our Mothers Campaign, volunteer in our warehouse, volunteer virtually or donate furniture. However you wish to participate, you will change the next generations’ lives. Thank you.