Opening a New Seed House
Seed House Project (SHP) has housed over 100 male system-involved youth while they go to school, work, save and prepare to transition into independent housing with financial stability. The agency offers a total of 46 beds in two housing facilities, along with an innovative, culturally-centered approach to therapy, member engagement and self-discovery. A grant from LA2050 will help SHP to open its newest live/work/study/create space in Westwood that will house 20 TAY, ensuring that every member has the support to ignite their full potential.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Fernando Valley
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Each year, over 5,000 LA County foster youth age out of the system into a future of uncertainty: the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,399 (www.zumper.com); 76% of foster youth have never had a job; and foster youth lack income and the qualifications to secure housing, including credit history, employment, savings for deposits, and life skills to search for and apply for housing. There are funding programs for foster youth, including Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) and Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) but these are thousands of units short to meet the need. At Seed House Project, we provide housing for a monthly fee of $350 out of the $1,000 SILP funds, which is set aside as part of their savings. They also receive meals, case management, counseling, community, life skills training and entrepreneurial training and opportunities. We also assist members to apply for SILP and will wait for the 3 months it can take for SILP to be approved and funded.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
With nearly a decade of TAY housing experience under its belt, SHP is in the process of leasing its next house in Westwood to house students living, working or attending school at Santa Monica College, Valley College, UCLA and LA Trade Tech. The agency has identified this property and finalized the lease. The housing capacity of the property is 20 beds due to SHP's innovative pod concept that builds out bedrooms to house 2-4 members with privacy and technology capacity. Funding from LA2050 will be used to renovate, furnish, equip and stock the new house, including community convening space and a computer center. The goal of SHP is to provide a holistic, supportive environment in which participants can transition into sustainable, permanent housing. Upon move-in, residents work with their Member Success Case Manager to develop a plan, with action steps and benchmarks, to establish employment and permanent housing. Those plans are supported by case management, life skills training, a savings program, and move-in assistance supported by the Change Reaction Foundation that matches residents' savings up to $1,600, assists with moving deposits and helps purchase furnishings for apartments. Members of SHP must be homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, male or self-identifying as male, and have previous system involvement. Residents are not required to be full-time students, though 95% attend college or vocational training.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Los Angeles County will be different if young people exiting foster care have the housing and supports to make their dreams come true rather than stand at the cliff of emancipation facing homelessness, desperation, addiction and incarceration. Seed House Project has a proven model that avoids these outcomes that must be scaled to serve more young men. Project success will look like: fully utilized housing units with a pipeline of young men at every phase of the SHP service continuum; work-ready participants who are working part-time while in college or seeking full-time, living wage employment to support permanent housing; skillful, culturally relevant and trauma-informed counseling delivered in a coaching rather than therapy-session format as preferred by participants and alums; and life skills building integrated into every service for a safe and supported launch into purposeful, self-sustaining, community-connected adulthood.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
SHP collects a variety of data to measure program effectiveness, including: length of stay; number of members who secure permanent housing upon move-out; participation in the savings program; employment status; education status; services delivered (case management, counseling, lift skills sessions attended, career development, job placement, financial assistance provided upon move-out), and reasons for exit. Data is collected in SHP's customized Apricot client data management system. During its last fiscal year, SHP provided transitional housing to 30 young men and helped 22 to secure permanent housing. Of those who have lived in residence, 78% are enrolled in school full-time, 70% maintain permanent housing and just 8% exited the program and experienced a re-occurrence of homelessness, 22 members had paid internships, 80% of members opened bank accounts and improved their financial status, and members accessed 480 hours of therapy.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 20
Indirect Impact: 60