Alison Hurst moved to California from London in 2001. Witnessing the homeless youth epidemic in Los Angeles, she decided to get involved, and find some ways to address the issue. Initially, she started by enlisting her family, making care packages and handing them out with volunteers on the Venice Boardwalk.
In 2011, she and a dedicated group of community members opened a Drop-In Center in Venice, and ultimately, Safe Place for Youth (SPY) was founded, with Alison at the helm as Executive Director, supporting youth ages 12-25 in transitioning off the streets, in conjunction with education and employment programs that provide resume building, mock interviewing, life skills workshops, job and education application guidance and networking opportunities.
The organization has a team of 28 staff and is regarded as the lead agency for homeless and at-risk youth in West Los Angeles. SPY’s outreach services include street outreach, drop-in services – where young people have access to hot meals, clothing, showers, hygiene products, and medical assistance – Health and Wellness Programming, Case Management, Healing Arts, Education and Employment support, Pregnant and Parenting classes, and connections to Housing. Over 1,000 youth accessed SPY’s Drop-In Center in 2017. SPY also has Five Keys Charter School on-site, providing the opportunity to work towards their HiSET or high school diploma, working with each student individually.
Alison also sits on the Board of the Westside Coalition and is a chair of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, while still finding time to sit and talk with homeless young people, letting them know they are valued.
Tune in to hear Alison discuss with Steve, Mary, and Richard about the homeless youth epidemic and SPY’s mission to inspire, nurture, and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time.
In This Episode
A global perspective on homelessness
How she got involved in the cause
If everybody would get involved we could make it go away
Addressing the health and hunger issue
Homelessness is a health and wellness issue
How many transition out?
How we help prevent homelessness for youth
Systems of all types are broken
The shame around not being able to do it themselves
What is Safe Place for Youth?
She provides the space for people to stand up
What can we do to help?
If Alison had a magic wand…