Immediate Release 

Hollywood, CA – February 25, 2014  The Heart of Hollywood Foundation (HHF) today announced the awarding of a community grant to My Friend’s Place (MFP).  The award was issued to help MFP provide for the basic needs of more than 1,400 homeless young people through their Safe Haven Program in 2014.  The Safe Haven Program provides daytime shelter and basic needs services to youth living on the streets. These emergency necessities alleviate the demands of survival that often distract youth from engaging in educational or health-related activities that ultimately lead to stability.

Services Include:

  • Day Shelter
  • Hot Meals
  • Showers
  • Hygiene Supplies/Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Communication (internet and telephone) and Mail Services (link to USC study)
  • Transportation
  • Clinical and Education Referrals
  • ID/Birth Certificate Acquisition Assistance
  • Special Events and Field Trips
  • Daily and Emergency Services for Companion Animals

The organization’s resource center is the point of entry into higher commitment programming. Through the provision of basic needs in a safe and welcoming space, staff members take the first steps to build trust with youth, encouraging them to identify and share their needs and issues and take steps toward wellness. Their direct service team provides a first line of counseling and conversation aimed at engaging the youth in opportunities such as health, education, and employment services. The Safe Haven Program has proven to be a successful entry point into intensive case management services where we provide crisis stabilization, linkages to health and mental health services, housing, and other services supporting stability and self sufficiency.

“My Friend’s Place and the Heart of Hollywood Foundation share a deep commitment to serving our most disadvantaged community members”, said Susan Zeren Dutra, Director of Development at MFP.

“From this shared commitment to supporting and caring for the most vulnerable members of our community here in Hollywood, our two organizations have found common purpose in supporting our homeless youth in their journey from the streets toward a life of wellness, health and stability. We are deeply grateful to The Heart of Hollywood Foundation for this exceptional dedication to changing the lives of young people struggling with homelessness and helping them move toward a brighter future.”

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About My Friend’s Place

The mission of My Friend’s Place is to assist and inspire homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. In collaboration with the leading social services providers and educational institutions in the region as well as over 500 volunteers, My Friend’s Place offers a free and comprehensive continuum of care that combines emergency necessities with therapeutic, health, employment and education assistance, and creative arts services through our three programmatic areas: The Safe Haven Program, The Transformative Education Program and The Health and Well-Being Program.

MFPs programs and services all are specifically designed to address the unique needs of homeless youth. By offering a diverse, comprehensive continuum of care, My Friend’s Place is able to engage youth in a range of interventions that are flexible and non-mandatory which allow youth, with the support of staff, to move toward educational, employment and housing opportunities. Furthermore, the multi-disciplinary quality of their continuum provides the opportunity for staff to capture that unpredictable moment when a homeless youth has enough self-awareness to consider their health and long term stability and ask for more intensive assistance in finding stability, ranging from improved mental health to housing.

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My Friend’s Place engages youth through three programmatic focus areas. The Safe Haven Program provides day time shelter and drop-in services that engage youth by providing food, clothing, showers, communication services and transportation. The Transformative Education Program offers psycho-educational programming including job skills training, resume preparation, creative and theater arts. The Health and Well-Being Program provides youth with therapeutic case management, basic medical care, and mental health services addressing issues such as pregnancy and parenting, legal issues, sexual health, HIV prevention and emotional well-being. All services are provided in an atmosphere of dignity and respect with the diverse needs of each individual youth in mind.

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About The Heart of Hollywood Foundation (HHF)

The Heart of Hollywood Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 organization (EIN: 45-2583171) dedicated to funding and addressing local, national and global hunger needs and disaster relief projects.  The H.H.F. collaborates with businesses, organizations and social enterprises to direct funding where it will have the most positive impact.  H.H.F. 100% volunteer based.  Their passion and goal is simple – to serve those in need.