Moving into Residences on Main changed James’s life, giving him the stability of having a place to call home and access to the resources he needed to start moving forward with his life. “My favorite part of my apartment is my living room where I can see the outdoors and feel the breeze of relaxation”.
Growing up in foster care since he was 3 years old, James was thrown into a broken system that is not designed to protect and support youth so that they can thrive.
Children in foster care face multiple factors that increase their risk of homelessness, including the number of foster care placements, history of running away from placements and time spent in a group home. In addition, once a youth “ages out” of the system at 18 years old they are released with no money to support themselves and often with no family members to turn to.
With little guidance and no positive role models to look up to, James struggled as a young Black man to find his place in the world. He dropped out of high school and had multiple encounters with law enforcement until he was referred to the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) by his social worker.
CRCD offered James access to resources such as education and permanent supportive housing that allowed him to begin to take steps towards creating a brighter future for himself. James enrolled in CRCD Academy, an accredited high school for transition-aged youth (18-24), where he obtained his high school diploma. He went on to participate in South LA YouthBuild program where he learned skills to enter the job market as a construction worker.
Earlier this year, with the help of CRCD, James was able to move from transitional housing for foster youth into his own unit at Residences on Main. This marks an important milestone for James, who at 21 years old will now know, for the first time in his life, the stability that comes from having permanent housing. “Having a permanent home has provided me with a safe space where I can sit down and organize my thoughts to make plans for the future”.
The services James received through CRCD were instrumental in helping him build the independent living skills and economic self-sufficiency required to support a successful transition to adulthood. Homelessness is a side-effect of the systemic inequity and disinvestment deeply engraved into our systems and institutions that limit an individual’s potential and displaces them to a life on the streets.