The Salvation Army Way In Youth Services in Hollywood has become home to many of the 8,000 homeless youth who sleep on the streets of Los Angeles each night. Started in 1994, The Way In was founded to help children escape Hollywood street life and provide a home-like environment in which abused and or neglected teenagers could live safely as they matured into productive and independent young adults. The Way In helps by providing food, shelter and counseling in a multi-faceted program that includes residential housing, an independent living program.
Through a close-knit network of shelter programs and area agencies, The Way In helps to provide viable solutions to the problem of homeless youth living on the streets of Los Angeles. The program makes services available to kids in need who are without a voice and who are cut off from society. The Center provides many youth with their first contact for basic survival, medical, legal, and social services, in addition to acute crisis intervention and case management.
A thorough needs assessment is completed for each client in order to identify needed services including health care, substance abuse treatment, education, employment readiness and placement, life skills training and social and emotional support. Goals of the program include: addressing the immediate needs of homeless youth; providing them tools to facilitate their personal growth; and helping them to reunite with their families or move into other appropriate placements or living arrangements.
Although it can sometimes be difficult dealing with street youth in Hollywood, these teen's attitudes are a reflection of their resiliency and willingness to carry on in the face of major hardship. The staff at The Way In shows these teens that everyone deserves a hug and a helping hand. The following are services provided at the Way In:
The Way In's residential facility houses up to 8 males between 18-21 years of age. These beds are for homeless youth who either left home or came to the Center through referrals from other agencies. The goal of the residential program is to help establish a long-term foundation for each youth to successfully live healthy, sustained lives, while the shelter attempts to identify and satisfy the immediate needs of the youths.
Independent Living Program
The Way In's Independent Living Program provides apartments for youth ages 18-21, and allows them to experience the independence of being an adult with the helping hand we all need when starting out. This twenty-bed, alcohol and drug-free program is designed for at-risk youth of legal age with no family or options available to help them to become independent and self-sufficient. During their up to eighteen-month stay, residents are required to continue high school, pursue further education, or enroll in vocational training. They also attend weekly counseling and case management sessions, participate in life skills training and attend bi-weekly house meetings. Residents receive training in job skills and are aided in securing and maintaining employment. Clients pay 30% rent and all of their utilities are provide for free, residents pay into a savings program, all of which is returned to them upon exit from the program.
Additional community services include:
- Transportation - Since 2008, over 20,000 individuals have received transportation assistance through monthly token distribution at The Way In.
- Clothing - On a daily basis, members of the community can peruse clothing donationsreceived by The Way In clothing storage.
- Food - The Way In provides referrals to local pantries and food banks. Additionally, through a partnership with a local bakery, The Way in distributes bagels to the community each Thursday.
- Referrals - Members of the community can receive referrals to other agencies in order to receive additional services as needed.