The Los Angeles Dream Center, located just two miles from Hollywood, launched a “Home for the Holidays” program this year to provide housing for homeless mothers and their children by Christmas Eve.
Some of these women have newborn babies and have been sleeping in their cars. Other mothers are escaping severe domestic violence with their children and have no one to turn to for help.
The center, which operates in the former "Queen of Angels Hospital," already provides 20 dorm-style living spaces for family housing. But Kelli Bradley, director of the Transitional Family Housing Program, told The Christian Post that there is always a waiting list. She finally told her fellow staff at the center, “We’ve got to do something.”
The staff started clearing out a wing at the center used for storage, and began renovating the rooms. Bradley said they finished about two weeks ago, but they still didn’t have any furniture.
As the staff was trying to figure out how to provide for the rooms, a local radio station, KKLA-FM, called them and said they wanted to help. Last week, they did a three-hour telethon to raise money for the wing. The radio segments encouraged very generous donations after an anonymous donor offered to match every gift of $100 or more.
This new wing is set up for moms with kids under five years of age. The Dream Center has six families confirmed and they will start their move-in process today.
Bradley told CP she will be interviewing three more families today as well. She said their program does an intensive interview process because they want “families to have a clear understanding of how the program works. There is accountability and structure.”
Each family has a private room as well as a shared bathroom, family room and play room. They also have access to three meals a day at the campus cafeteria.
For Christmas, the new families will attend a church service, and afterwards there will be a bike giveaway for the children. Bradley said their goal is to build a strong family atmosphere.
The transitional housing program started three years ago at the DC, and Bradley said the purpose of it is to help families make “lifelong changes.” The average stay at the center is 10 months, but there is no time limit as to how long families can stay.
Those who come to live there work on job training, getting their GED’s or getting enrolled in college, and they have to take steps that will help them transition to a successful life outside of the center.
The families have rules and a curfew they have to follow. Their kids have to be furthering their education or working, and church attendance is mandatory.
Bradley said they are “not just trying to put a band aid on the issue,” because they want to set them up for long-term success.
One woman came to the housing program almost three years ago with five kids, no high school education, and was essentially illiterate. She was taken from an abusive family as a young child and processed through 45 different foster care placements. Pregnant at 16, the woman had struggled her entire life to survive.
When she finally landed at the DC, at 42 years of age, she said her dream was to get her high school diploma. She is now being tutored daily working toward that and recently told Bradley very proudly of her progress. She now reads on a 5th grade level.
Bradley said that when this woman told her, “All I’ve ever needed in my life is one person to believe in me,” she saw just how big of an impact the DC was having. Our job, said Bradley, is to help those who come to the housing program “figure out their dream and how to get there,” and to show them that there is someone out there who believes in them.
About The Los Angeles Dream Center
Founded in 1994, The Dream Center is a round-the-clock sanctuary for homeless families, addicts, abused women and children, victims of human trafficking, and many others. Through its numerous outreach programs, The Dream Center feeds over 40,000 people per month and houses more than 500 people daily. The Dream Center provides food, housing, clothing, life skills training, education, job training and numerous resources through its 273 programs and outreaches.