2018 Grants Challenge

Safe Place for Youth by Podshare

Idea by Podshare

PodShare has built over 190 affordable housing units across Los Angeles and SPY serves 1,100 homeless youth each year, connecting them to jobs, schools, housing, healthcare, and basic necessities.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

This grant money would secure a property and build 20 pods in West LA within 6 months. Once built, we will jointly fund raise to secure ongoing rent and maintenance costs for the facility, apply for Measure H funds to for basic services and staffing, and use other private funds for additional programming. This activation will decrease the number of homeless Angelinos on our streets and make temporary housing affordable and scalable, helping hundreds of young people find affirming community.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your activation impact?​

Rates of homelessness

Rates of mental illness

Resilient communities

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​


How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to LIVE?​

Currently, there are thousands of young people on the streets of LA fighting to survive. They are creative, resilient, generous, powerful and represent immeasurable untapped talent. County-wide efforts to address homelessness are critical to systemic shift, yet community level interventions have tangible impact on neighborhood culture, connectedness, safety and health. By taking a local approach to addressing youth homelessness and leveraging key organizational skill sets, Podshare and Safe Place for Youth (SPY) are poised to take on youth homelessness in West LA, improving the lives of housed and unhoused Angelenos alike.

The vast majority of homeless adults, first experience homelessness in their teens and early 20’s. If stabilized early, time spent on the streets can be brief and non-recurring. However, without intervention, today’s homeless youth go on to become tomorrow’s chronically homeless adults, with deeply exacerbated medical, mental health and emotional scars due to extended trauma of life on the streets. This activation seeks to break that pipeline to chronic homelessness by meaningfully engaging young people in safe, youth- friendly, easily- accessible temporary housing. In doing so, we will show impact along the following metrics:

Homelessness. With enough pods to shelter 20 young people each night, “SPY by Podshare” will move 50-250 individuals off the streets each year. This provides immediate safety and respite while significantly decreasing the likelihood that those individuals will become chronically homeless adults, impacting ~1,600 to ~8,000 people by the year 2050.

Mental Illness. Youth experiencing homelessness deal with complex mental health concerns related to disconnection from family, histories of abuse and neglect, grief, isolation, and criminalization. Yet less than 6% of SPY youth report mental health concerns as a contributing factor to their homelessness. With onsite staffing and services available, guests will receive the care they need, preventing them from becoming part of the nearly 30% of chronically homeless adults with serious mental illness in LA County.

Resilient Communities. Engaging the housed community in local responses to homelessness allows for deeper social connectedness, greater feelings of community pride and ownership, and humanization and empathy-building for those living outside. We will measure community resilience year over year through the number of volunteers participating in our programs and pre and post questionnaires regarding measures of connectedness for both guests and volunteers.

Youth unemployment/underemployment. After housing, connection to jobs is the most requested service from youth at SPY. With a strong track record of engaging hundreds of youth in employment programming each year, this activation will ensure that guests are provided ample opportunity to find meaningful work and are offered metro passes and bus tokens to increase work transit accessibility.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to LIVE​

The Podshare and SPY LA 2050 Activation will focus on engaging housed Angelenos around issues of youth homelessness. The crisis of youth homelessness is currently largely unknown to the broader community. SPY knows from experience that in order to implement successful and lasting strategies to mitigate youth homelessness, it is critical to garner the active support and participation of your surrounding neighbors. Safe Place for Youth has a Street Outreach team that goes out five times a week to places where homeless youth sleep, develops rapport with the young people, and works to connect them to SPY’s on-site programming. In that same way, so too does our plan to engage housed Angelenos focus on building of personal connections that are motivated towards action, whether that’s donating, advocating, or volunteering. These connections will be catalyzed through a host of outreach strategies, including flyers in public spaces, implementing a robust social media campaign including a compelling LA2050 video, hosting community presentations on the issue of youth homelessness, and empowering youth to tell their own stories. Through these different interactions, Angelenos will gain deeper insight into the crisis of youth homelessness, and will in turn be motivated to support crisis housing for youth both financially and with their time, in order to make LA the best place to live.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Within 3 months of funding, “SPY by PodShare” will be fully operational with SPY filling the pods and providing services to guests. Over the first 2 years, “SPY by PodShare” will maintain an average nightly occupancy of 95% (19 pods) maximizing our ability to provide immediate night-time shelter to young people in need. SPY Housing Case Managers will work with guests to identify their long-term housing plan and provide supportive day services at the SPY Drop-In Center. Additionally, an on-site case manager will help guests address needs that arise at “SPY by PodShare.” Through this coordinated care, a minimum of 80% of guests will exit “SPY by PodShare” to a higher order housing intervention (i.e. bridge, transitional, rapid rehousing, or permanent supportive housing.) While mental health services will not be mandated for guests to support each person’s right to self-determination, SPY will strive for at least 50% enrollment in wellness supports through youth friendly language and staffing. Similarly, education and employment supports through the SPY drop-in center will be made available to all guests, aiming for 65% enrollment. Community engagement and goodwill will be measured through volunteerism, striving for a 10% increase in the number of volunteer hours donated each month during the first year, and a 25% increase in political support for homeless youth over year one, measured through community feedback surveys and questionnaire.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

After the successful opening of this first “SPY by PodShare” location, we hope to garner support to continue our shared mission of moving homeless youth off the streets. Our goal in the next 5 years would be to open 4 more locations, each with 20-40 pods, expanding our impact from 50-250 individuals to providing temporary housing to 200- 2,000 individuals each year. In doing so, we will enhance the lives of each guest, intervening in their lives at a critical time and improving their long-term mental health, employment, and housing stability prospects. Additionally, we will engage housed Angelenos in the process, creating a deeper sense of community ownership and connectedness to their city and unhoused neighbors. These dual processes will enhance individual and community well being, and move us towards the LA we all want to achieve. We must act fast if we are going to outpace the rise in the homeless population each year. The LA2050’s goal of having fewer than 1,000 homeless people on the streets by the year 2050 is achievable. PodShare and SPY are here to help get it done.