LA nonprofit looks to help former foster kids with housing, support

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The nonprofit WE LIFT LA looks to help foster teens as they become too old for the system and struggle to support themselves. (KABC)

It's a well-known problem for foster children - they age out of the system, but have nowhere to go. Nearly 40 percent end up homeless when they get too old for foster care.

That's why Joyce Harmon founded WE LIFT LA - standing for Living In Foster Transition.

The non-profit has already purchased a home to help young women while they learn life skills, build relationships and get education and career advice.

"The programs end so they're back where they started and it's just tragic," Harmon said.

Kristie White knows what it's like to try to make that difficult transition. The 23-year-old former foster child has been helped by the program and now attends Pierce Community College.

"If you feel safe, if you have a home then it gives you the freedom to focus on other things that are important -- like education," White said.

Now the organization wants to expand, by purchasing adjoining property to build a hub for community programs and services. It also wants to add separate housing for young men. It's holding a fundraiser Thursday night in Agoura Hills to help with those efforts.

According to WE LIFT LA, 36 percent of foster youth become homeless within just 18 months of aging out. And 70 percent of California state prison inmates are former foster youth.

"Most of these kids have never been told they are loved in their lives," said Tony De Felicias, program director for WE LIFT LA. "We are about teaching them that they can win in life. We are about teaching them that they can become successful."
Related Topics:
newsfoster kidsCSU NorthridgehousingLos AngelesNorthridge
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