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House of Hope Drop in Center and Shelter for homeless youth-12-17 years old

11 Mar

House of Hope Drop in Center for homeless youth-12-17 years old

Pastor Christopher Bourne is pictured second from left, with Darrel Cozen and Norma Pratt (right), both members of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.

The House of Hope is the only shelter for youth from 12-17 in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles. On March 4th, three members of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group, Norma Pratt, Darrell Cozen and I, visited the House of Hope, sponsored by the Bethlehem Community Development Center. Our district representative from Senator Carol Liu’s office, Adam Carter, also joined the tour.

Christopher Bourne, pastor of the Bethlehem Church of Christ Holiness, at 1550 North Fair Oaks Avenue, in Pasadena, received us with great enthusiasm at 4:45pm on Tuesday, March 5, in the midst of the weekly House of Hope staff meeting.

Along with the shelter, the church and staff run a homeless drop-in center with computers, bus tokens, and all kinds of activities geared toward helping the youth feel loved, welcomed, well fed, and equipped to succeed in school and move forward in their lives.

The church has owned the apartment next door since the 80s. Homeless youth from 12 to 17 years old can stay in two of these very homey apartments for up to 21 days. One apartment houses up to three homeless girls along with a “house mom,” and on the other side of the parking garage, another apartment houses up to three homeless boys with a “house dad.” Those who qualify must not be on probation or in the LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) system.

The main goal of the House of Hope is not only to provide hope but also reunite the youth with their families when it is safe to do so. Life skills, food, clothing, case management and a loving environment all serve to move the youth closer to reunification.

Of the youth who have come to House of Hope, 85-95% have been reunited with their families. So far the ethnic make-up of those served have been White, Hispanic, and African-American youth.

In one case five kids, ages 9 to 19, were all abandoned due to a parent’s terminal illness. House of Hope staff partnered with other agencies to help those youth who were not within the age range they serve, and they were able to find ways to keep the siblings together. Presently one on those staying at House of Hope is a 15-year-old girl with a baby.

Since opening their doors in October 2012, they have housed 25-30 youth. Girls tend to stay longer. Boys tend to drop in and stay for only a day or two. After youth leave House of Hope, the staff continues to follow up on them for six months.

It seems that a real convergence of money, passion and need coalesced in the birthing of the House of Hope. More than 1.3 million children in the United States are homeless at some time each year. To meet this need in the San Gabriel Valley, three key things came together: the possibility of grant funding; having a location already zoned for a homeless shelter and available space in their church property for a drop in center; and the use of two of their apartments next to the church. All converged with the pastor’s passion.

The staff is reaching out to school districts and cities throughout San Gabriel Valley to let them know about this new and unique resource for homeless youth. Some of these youth have run away to Hollywood, whose arts and street life are a magnet for homeless youth, and staff are targeting that area as well.

If you know of homeless youth please contact House of Hope at 626-794-5216 or info@BCDCHouseofHope.com, or check them out on the web: http://www.BCDCHouseofHope.com.

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