Currently, there are over 20 thousand college-age students who are facing housing insecurity (meaning they are couch surfing or don’t know where they will be next week). One-third of all community college students in the state of California are facing homelessness. Fifty percent have trouble affording healthy meals.
Stories from the Frontline, a housing advocacy initiative, is the catalyst for a new public-private partnership, Sunnyside Five, that provides transitional housing for at-risk young adults who are currently enrolled in college or a trade school in South Central Los Angeles.
“It all started when we received a call from the Director of Facilities at Thacher School, a private boarding school in Ojai, California,” said Marilyn Wells, Stories from the Frontline co-founder. “They were looking for a new home for five modular housing containers ideal for dorm-life living. To capitalize on this unique opportunity, we hatched a plan to move these units to Los Angeles to help combat community college student homelessness.”
The John and Marilyn Wells Family Foundation made a lead gift to kick-start the effort, including the creation of a new program at Sunnyside Baptist Church, called Sunnyside Five, to oversee the new student housing program. Los Angeles County officials, local philanthropists, and nonprofit partners joined in, including LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, LA Room and Board, Lewis | Schoelplein Architects, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Specialty Foundation, California Community Foundation, First to Serve La, Children’s Institute International, Seed House Project, Stepping Forward LA, Heart and Soul Center, and Big Sunday.
“We wanted to build a coalition of support to assure the program is sustainable.” said Ms. Wells, “So we reached out to LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell who immediately went into action to secure additional funding and support.”
Join them on November 2 at 6:30 p.m. at The Ebell of Los Angeles to not only hear harrowing stories from some of these students but also hear from folks who are creating housing for them. Click here for tickets and learn how you can help!