Los Angeles Homeless Services officials will attempt to place 100 homeless youths in safe and stable housing within 100 days, according to a new goal announced Tuesday.
The goal is part of an initiative by A Way Home America, a national movement to combat homelessness among young people. Los Angeles was selected to participate in the program through a competitive application process, along with Cleveland and Austin. The three cities will begin the challenge on Sept. 7 and will receive coaching and support from Rapid Results Institute, a nonprofit geared toward solving societal problems, in order to accomplish the goal by mid-December.
“The limited time-frame provides the urgency needed to identify, innovate and fuel effective approaches for communities,” A Way Home America said in a press release.
Megan Gibbard, director of A Way Home America said that 19 different communities expressed interest in the 100-day initiative, and the three final cities were selected based on their demonstration of innovation and preparation.
Each city will develop its own plan for approaching the goal, said Gibbard.
“The solutions are going to come from the LA community,” she said.
According to Gibbard, unsafe conditions at home are the main reason for youth homelessness, while job-loss and illness are leading causes for adult homelessness.
“Young people are still learning how to be adults and live independently,” she said. “The strategies for solving homelessness for that group are different, and that’s what we focus on.”
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimates that there are 3,447 homeless youth between the ages 18 and 24 in the Los Angeles County area, excluding Long Beach, Glendale and Pasadena, which the authority does not cover.
Tom Waldman, Director of Communication for the authority, said the organization is already working to find homes for youths every day.
“This is a specific period of time that we’ve given ourselves for this challenge,” said Waldman. “But the task of finding safe and stable housing for youth is ongoing.”