In November of 2019, Garrett Underwood now known as the Executive Director of SEED HOUSE PROJECT opened his childhood home to 9 homeless and aged-out foster youth within the San Fernando Valley. With heed to the homeless crisis within Los Angeles County. This past year while the youth was getting on their feet Mr. Underwood was living in his no electricity trailer, sacrificing everything for the 9 young men. He did this right after losing a friend and mentee to homelessness at the age of 23. He told his self he will not sit back any more and watch but rather do something about it.
What makes a home for you? Many say it’s the place you live, others say it’s with the people around us and oftentimes we say it’s where we make it. We at SEED HOUSE PROJECT believe our home starts with our why, our purpose and our reason for existence. We believe homelessness doesn’t always start with the circumstances life presents, but rather homelessness starts in the mind. The minute we become homeless is the minute we lose our “why.”
The US Census Bureau reports from 2010 to 2018, Los Angeles County has witnessed a 42% rise in homelessness, with counts escalating from 38,700 to a startling 55,000 in 2017. Every night, over 3000 young people sleep on the streets, 31% of whom are TAY aging out of foster care and 62% of whom are TAY aging out of the juvenile justice system. Statics show 70% of individual exiting the overall jail system were once a foster youth.
What is this telling us? Many youth growing up in the foster care system once had a physical home and many youth exiting the juvenile system also had a place to rest their head. What was missing? Many transitional aged youth are searching for acceptance and purpose and ultimately their “why”. With the lost connections of acceptance and purpose, this then leads our youth to experience emotional trauma, which can often cause debilitating depression and apathy. Due to living in a time where instant gratification is sought after for relief, our youth become more vulnerable to drug addiction, gang affiliation and suicide. Our youth are willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of the feeling of rejection from society thus being susceptible to giving up.
“For me, my home is where I found my “why” I believe when you find your ‘why” homelessness or any other obstacle will not get in your way! With our youth, they find a purpose that will outlive them and each one have every reason to get up every morning!”