A Spooktacular October at Penny Lane Centers

November 1, 2023

Sun Commons Grand Opening- October 2nd

Abbey Road and Linc Housing , both nonprofit developers of affordable and supportive housing, hosted the grand opening for Sun Commons, a 103-unit large-family affordable and supportive housing community in the North Hollywood area for low-income families and individual and people who have experienced homelessness.  The Grand Opening celebration included dignitaries, community friends and residents.

Many of the residents are beyond grateful for their new place to call home. To express their gratitude, below are some of the quotes from our new Sun Commons Residents.

“I have loved living here. The case managers are amazing, they help in every way, even when you forget what you asked them to help you on, they remember. They make sure you get it done. They really do help and make sure our living environment is peaceful and blissful.” -Deja
“Hi, my name is Stephanie. Me and my children came a long way until we got into this wonderful place. It's nice and quiet. All the staff are respectful. I love all the case management here they give great support anything you need you don't have to hesitate to go to them.” -Stephanie
“Hello to whom it may concern, I am very appreciative for being saved from the streets of me living in a tent. I traveled from Florida and was a traveler trapped in pain of my mind. My mom & grandma died being homeless and I still have flashbacks. I cry, I had got back on my feet and then COVID-19 happened, and it was harder on me because I just barely gotten back on my feet so the pain crying again.  I am tired of traveling and I'm very grateful to not be homeless.  I have a full-time job. I found out about this project from my outside case worker when I was homeless sleeping in tents.  I finally have a safe permanent home and I'm thankful every single day that I have case management services to help guide me towards programs and resources I didn't know about. I thank Penny Lane & Sun Commons affordable housing because I don't know where I would be if I didn't have this place. I am truly appreciative and very much grateful to the staff of Penny Lane and Sun Commons. I can be safe and at peace knowing I have a bed to sleep in and case management services here to help. It's a big blessing to me, my health, and well-being.  I type this while crying tears of joy knowing I get to live on for my mother and grandmother who died being homeless.  … I know you all got a long road to make everyone in LA safe from being homeless.  I know I'm one of the lucky and blessed ones thank you so much Penny Lane.”  -David "Nicky"
“Oh, I love it here! I love the beauty of the building. PSH (permanent supportive housing) staff are available and supportive.  Property Management is also helpful and professional.  It makes you feel like they care!” -Ronald

We are excited for our new residents as we continue to transform the communities we serve!

-Bernie LaFianza & Gabriela Segura, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

From Foster Child to Adulthood: The Difficult Challenge for Transitional Age Youth

This past month two of our Penny Lane Staff members wrote an article in The San Fernando Valley Sun. Ernesto Campos, North Hills Program Manager, is a local resident of the North San Fernando Valley with 14 years experience working with at risk youth in Los Angeles County. Alondra Conde, TAY Drop-in Center Intern, is also a long-time resident of the San Fernando Valley and is an intern providing basic needs linkages and resources to transitional age youth.

Article: From Foster Child to Adulthood: The Difficult Challenge for Transitional Age Youth

According to Los Angeles County, nearly 2,822 youth, ages 18-24, are homeless in Los Angeles County, and almost half of the total were foster care youth who have aged out of the foster care system. However, this staggering number doesn’t capture the extent and severity of the homeless youth population because of the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) categories that determine if a person is homeless; these categories include flee or attempting to flee domestic violence, homeless under other federal statutes, imminent risks of homelessness, and homeless; as a result of underestimating homeless youth, there is a lack of significant and practical resources available to address youth homelessness.

Society faces the grand challenge of ending youth homelessness. Youth experiencing homelessness endure a long-lasting, negative impact on their health and well-being. In addition, youth who have experienced homelessness may suffer from emotional or mental health problems, making it difficult for them to navigate and be successful in today’s environment. Because of the severity and long-lasting impact of homelessness, leaders of communities must collaborate with Los Angeles County officials and representatives to develop actionable policies that effectively address and reduce youth homelessness.

In Los Angeles County, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) currently has several housing options specifically designed for young adults ages 18-24. These services include Transitional Housing Placement Programs for Non-minor Dependents (THPP-NMD), Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP), and housing through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). While these services help assist youth at risk of homelessness, one of their limitations is that young adults aren’t placed in these services until they reach 18; by that time, it’s sometimes too late. The SILP program also requires you to have someone willing to take you in and provide a home, e.g., a former foster parent, and often foster families are not willing to keep housing a foster youth after they turn 18 due to the trauma symptoms that they have presented with in the past.

One option for a possible policy change within the Department of Child and Family Services would be to identify foster youth aged 16 years old who would be at risk of homelessness when they transition to adulthood at 18 years old. DCFS could then assign them to a specific unit within the department designed to provide permanent housing for the youth, coaching services to teach essential life skills, and develop a specialized plan with the youth to prevent homelessness and build connections that could help the youth be successful. Due to their history in multiple homes and other trauma experiences, foster youth often mistrust new service providers and take time to build trust before they can work collaboratively toward making changes in their lives.

Engaging with foster youth is a complex process that only gets even more complex when considering intersectionality with other marginalized populations. Foster youth face many challenges and have many unique needs when you take race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity into account. The challenges illuminate the necessity for services that will consider all these factors and work to create an individualized care plan to build up the necessary skills they will need once they turn 18. With these services starting earlier, they will be able to gain the skills and be prepared to live independently once they reach adulthood.

-Ernesto Campos & Alondra Conde, Penny Lane Centers

Check out the full article in the San Fernando Valley Sun by clicking the blue link below!

The San Fernando Valley Sun: Article

Halloween Potluck in Commerce

Commerce came together for a Halloween Potluck on Tuesday 10/31. There was plenty of food to go around and then some as well as an entire table dedicated to desserts! The decoration planning committee did an amazing job adecorating the training room and one of the therapists brought her set up and assisted with a photo backdrop. All attendees voted for 1st and  2nd place Costume winners. There was a category for “Best Group Costume”, but since there was only one, but very large group, they won unanimously. The group costume was composed by 5 Pokémons, 3 Pokémon balls, and 2 Pokémon trainers. I know right?! Pretty Cool. I’m sure that took some coordinating. The 1st place winner went to Bob Ross and 2nd place winner went to the Joker.

-Biridiana Baez, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

International Day of the Girl at Penny Lane

Penny Lane Centers Transitional Housing female clients were greeted by our donors from the San Fernando Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated for the International Day of the Girl Child (designated as October 11th but “celebrated” with Penny Lane on October 6th.) The day was enriched with teamwork and positivity all around. The female clients received individual baskets filled with multiple hygiene products and accessories with a note addressed to each of them explaining the purpose of the day and celebrating each of them.  

It is significant to note that the donors had spent their own money and time to buy and donate the products for the purpose of celebrating each of the female clients in the transitional housing program.  Our clients were in awe of their kindness and generosity and very appreciative of what they received.  The donors also provided gift bags for the female staff in recognition of their services and care that they provide to our clients.  We enjoyed meeting the lovely ladies that were part of this donation and truly appreciate them for what they did for our clients and staff and hope to continue our collaboration in the future.

-Shiva Berjis, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos of the visit below!!

Halloween Potluck in North Hills

The North Hills Family Center staff also celebrated Halloween with a potluck of their own in the Rainbow Room.  Everyone in attendance was decked out in their costumes and brought some delicious dishes to share with all.  This potluck was organized by the Clinic but all North Hills staff were invited to enjoy the fun!  We even had a costume contest and above are all the winners because we couldn’t decide who had the best one- they all did!  

We can’t wait to do this again and hope even more staff participate next year as fun was had by all!!

-Michelle Ferrante, Penny Lane Centers

Rainbow Day at Covina Community Church

On Sunday, October 22nd, Penny Lane’s LGBTQ+ Programs partnered with Covina Community Church for their annual Rainbow Day.  Covina Community Church is an open and affirming church that welcomes all, regardless of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.  Rainbow Day is a way to educate and equip people around issues the LGBTQ+ community and their families encounter.  

This year featured The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as greeters, resource tables, presentations – including one by Summer Gomez on the intricacies of gender, and a special art exhibit titled “Demons Reimagined,” presented by trans-artist Lyric McNally.

Rainbow Day at Covina Church 2023: Rainbow Day

-Summer Gomez, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!