Eight-year-old Andre loves having his friends over to hang out in his room after school. He has his own door, which he can close for privacy. He has his own desk, where he can study. His room is in a home that belongs solely to him and his mother, Janae.
However, a year ago, this wasn’t his reality.
Before Andre and his mother found a permanent home through PATH, their lives were quite different. In October 2012, the abuse from Janae’s husband escalated to the point where she and her young son had to run for their lives. Without any family or financial resources to support them, Janae and Andre were left homeless. Bouncing from shelter to shelter for years, they ended up on Los Angeles’ infamous Skid Row. This was no place for a child nor a place for a mother; simply put, it was no place for any human being.
Janae and Andre’s turning point came in May 2014, when they moved to PATH Los Angeles. Through PATH, Janae and her son gained access to job resources, case management, financial planning, and mental health counseling, In February 2015, Janae and Andre moved into their own home.
Janae and eight-year-old Andre are just two names and one story among the more than 578,000 people experiencing homelessness in the nation. Housing families like Andre’s could actually reduce the amount of money that cities, such as Los Angeles, spend to address homelessness.
A recent study found that Los Angeles spends $100 million per year on homelessness. If we break this number down even further, taxpayers spend a stunning $63,000 per year (per person) on homeless individuals’ medical, judicial, as well as other expenses. In contrast, it costs the taxpaying public only $16,000 (per person) to permanently house the homeless.
As of 2015, PATH has provided permanent housing for over 4,300 people in California. Furthermore, PATH is working to place 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in California into homes by 2020. However, housing these 10,000 people does not consist of simply placing them in an apartment and wishing them luck. It requires follow-through.
Why? Because an empty apartment is not a home. When students go to college, their parents usually buy them bedding, cooking utensils, clothes, and food—so they can focus on their studies. When formerly homeless persons move into an apartment, just like those students starting on a new path, their home needs to be fully furnished; in turn, they can focus on looking for work and rebuilding their lives.
PATH’s Making It Home campaign will furnish hope by furnishing homes for formerly homeless people. It is for people like Andre and Janae—who will receive a couch where they can read, a dining room table where they can eat, a fridge where they can keep their food, and beds where they can sleep.
Everyone wants to see an end to homelessness. This is how we can help those experiencing homelessness make it home… in 10,000 ways.