live / 2020

Safe Pods for Youth

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Safe Place for Youth, a project of Community Partners

Using existing and ready-to-move in housing provided by PodShare’s co-living model, Safe Pods for Youth offers a low-cost and immediate solution to the youth homelessness crisis. Building off of SPY’s Host Home Program, which invites community volunteers to serve as short-term hosts for young people experiencing homelessness, Safe Pods for Youth galvanizes community sponsors to fund short-term pods for $28 a night. While living in pods, youth will work with SPY to find employment, enroll in school, and locate permanent housing.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Westside

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g, using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • PodShare

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Offering affordable co-living spaces that are fully-furnished, communal, and rented on a month-to-month basis, PodShare will provide SPY youth with short-term housing and amenities (pods) from its Westwood location for periods of up to 3 months. Equally committed to making Los Angeles the best place to live, PodShare will work collaboratively with SPY, offering a below market rate to ensure that the maximum number of youth are able to transition from street-based living to this bridge housing option. To assist program recruitment and enrollment, PodShare will work with SPY staff to coordinate facility tours for interested youth and sponsors. Additionally, PodShare will support project advertising and tap into their networks to promote sponsorship opportunities.

What is the need you’re responding to?

SPY was founded to address youth homelessness. Annually, 10,000 youth, ages 18-24, experience homelessness in Los Angeles; roughly 4,000 can be found sleeping on the streets on any given night. The risk of homelessness increases for youth of color, LGBTQ youth, and youth with a history of system involvement (i.e foster care, juvenile justice system). Without housing it is difficult to maintain employment, stay in school, or focus on long-term goals. Housing is the solution to homelessness yet to afford an apartment in Los Angeles ($1,340), Angelenos need to earn $53,600 annually. A typical renter in Los Angeles brings home $44,000 per year. Responding to the need for immediate and affordable housing, Safe Pods for Youth transitions homeless youth from the streets into permanent housing by activating community sponsors to fund short-term co-living pods through PodShare. Youth will work with SPY to find employment, enroll in school, and locate permanent housing.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

SPY is an experienced youth service provider with a demonstrated history of success. Since 2011, SPY has helped youth obtain temporary housing as they search for and secure permanent housing. In 2016, the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) recognized SPY’s ability to provide services to homeless youth and we became the lead youth agency in West Los Angeles. In 2019, SPY exited 129 individual youth from the streets and served 1,536 youth with our supportive services.

Over the last 3 years, SPY has launched 4 youth housing programs, including our Host Home Program in 2017–the first in Los Angeles. Now publicly funded by LAHSA, agencies throughout LA County refer to SPY for technical assistance with implementing this innovative and grassroots Host Home program. 100% of the youth who participate in our Host Home Program exit into permanent housing within 3-6 months. SPY has previously used PodShare pods to provide respite housing for youth enrolled in our Host Home Program.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Safe Pods for Youth encourages a community-driven movement based on corporate and non-profit collaboration and the growing co-living model, to compassionately yet quickly move youth off of the street. This project focuses on moving youth into PodShare’s Westwood site but with 6 PodShare facilities throughout LA, there is ample room to scale up quickly. Our goal is to inspire additional service providers and property owners to maximize an existing inventory of housing to house youth. Safe Pods for Youth provides a tangible way for Angelenos to become part of the solution to youth homelessness. The ability to quickly house homeless individuals has become paramount amid the COVID-19 outbreak and this project is primed to support this effort.

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

There are two primary drivers of success for this project: the number of youth safely transitioned from the streets and into permanent housing and the number of community members or organizations activated to fund future pods for youth. With the seed funding provided by the LA2050 Challenge we propose to transition 34 individual youth, ages 18-25 into permanent housing. Success will be measured by program outputs and youth outcomes. Program outputs include youth recruitment numbers, program enrollment, and program completion rates (3-6 months). Long-term program outcomes include increased youth employment, increased school enrollment, decreased food insecurity, and youth exits into permanent housing (Metric: Housing Access/Affordability & Homelessness).

As part of this project we will empower community members, organizations, or corporate partners to become part of the solution to reducing homelessness in Los Angeles by 2050. Recognizing that not all Angelenos have the space or capacity to provide Host Homes for a homeless and/or at-risk youth, we propose to engage corporate sponsors (through their giving schemes) and community organizations through their capacity to leverage and mobilize community resources so that all Angelenos can serve as community hosts and participate in SPY and PodShare’s commitment to ending youth homelessness. Our goal is to activate 12 community sponsors (individual, corporate partners, community organizations) throughout the 12-month grant period.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing affordability
  • Homelessness

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff