Mentors can break cycle of homelessness

| September 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

You can make a difference. Really.

Jill Bauman, CEO of Imagine LA, is sure of it, which is why she works to bring mentors together with young families to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

About 150 new mentors are sought for St. Anne’s new, state-of-the-art transitional housing, Beverly Terrace. It is four blocks from St. Anne’s main campus on Beverly Blvd., east of Vermont.

Set to open this fall, the $23.7 million facility will house homeless families and parents and their children leaving the foster care system.

A new study shows the majority of young people emancipating out of foster care at 21 “are homeless within a year. It’s a tragic cycle,” said Bauman. “It breaks your hearts to see how little skills and trust they have…” But Bauman is steadfastly hopeful.

“If you meet them where they are — not by telling them what to do  — and honor that, and build from there, they build skills and confidence… it really is setting them up for long-term success. That’s where the magic of mentorship comes in.”

Imagine LA is at the cutting edge of ending the cycle. “There is no other program that works with families of this nature,” said Bauman, a multi-generational Hancock Park resident.

The Miracle Mile-based  non-profit will provide its Family Empowerment and Mentorship model — already involving hundreds of mentors  at other programs — at the Beverly Terrace site.

The Beverly Terrace facility includes 39 apartments, 20 of which are for 18- to 24-year-old mothers, who are aging out of foster care, and their children.

Of the remaining 19 units, 14 are for families struggling with chronic homelessness, and five are for families at risk of homelessness. The building is LEED certified platinum for its water and energy efficiency, and it includes childcare, community meeting rooms, gardens and outdoor play areas.

Families will be matched with a combination of a case manager and a financial wellness manager, plus each family member over five will have his or her own mentor.

Volunteers will serve 12-18 months up to two hours a week, including via phone and text.

An information session for those interested in mentoring is Thurs., Oct. 19 from 2 to 3 p.m. at St. Anne’s, 155 N. Occidental Blvd. RSVP or call 323-944-0210 x1005,

At The Ebell Oct. 25

Imagine LA is also reaching out through a presentation in the Greater Wilshire neighborhood. “Ending Homelessness in LA: What is the Strategy, the Status and How Can I Help?,” is a panel breakfast discussion that will take place Wed., Oct. 25 from 8 to 10 a.m. at The Ebell, 741 S. Lucerne Blvd.

According to moderator Jill Bauman, “Homelessness is the most pressing issue affecting people and quality of life for Los Angelenos.”

Panelists include Phil Ansell, director of the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative (LAHSA), and Kerry Morrison, Windsor Square. Morrison is the executive director of Hollywood Property Owners Alliance and is former chair of LAHSA, the Proposition HHH Oversight Committee, and Home for Good Business Leaders Taskforce. She is a  board member of The Center at Blessed Sacrament. Also on the panel is Alisa Orduña, Homelessness Policy Director, Office of Los ‘Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Fueled by Propositions HHH and H, efforts are powerful and require us all to be involved to produce a lasting impact, said Bauman. “The event will both educate you on what is being done and show you ways you can be involved in a long-term solution to homelessness in our community.”

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