A drop-in center is a place that provides shelter and support services for people suffering from homelessness, substance use disorder, mental illness, or domestic abuse. Services may include showers and hygiene supplies, clothing, hot meals, laundry services, computers with internet, education / employment support, health resources, support groups, and transitional housing programs.
As the name implies, people can “drop-in” and receive these services during most, if not all hours of the day. Drop-in centers also provide a critical safe space for people in imminent danger from domestic abuse, trafficking, or crime.
A Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Drop in Center is a safe space for young people ages 16-25 to access services such as employment linkage, education support, shelter/transitional housing, mental health, and extracurricular activities. In addition, youth are offered on-site services such as showers, hot meals, computers with internet access, hygiene supplies, groups, clothing, and safe sex literature and contraceptives.
Services may vary from one drop-in center to the next, but most drop-in centers offer many of the same resources.
Here are some of the main benefits of drop-in centers:
Clients have access to warm showers and are provided with soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sun block, lip balm, and other essential items for personal hygiene.
TAY clients can access warm showers and are provided with soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunblock, lip balm, and other essential items that can help them practice appropriate hygiene.
Drop-in centers provide laundry services so that clients will have clean, hygienic clothing. Many clients may not be able to do laundry at home, or don’t have the money to wash their clothes at a laundromat.
Penny Lane TAY Drop in Centers provide on-site laundry to ensure that our youth can have clean clothes at all times.
Drop-in centers may provide clients with additional clothing, such as socks, underwear, and t-shirts. Clients may lack sufficient clothing when they’re dealing with homelessness, have little income, or can’t return home due to an abusive situation. Drop-in centers typically rely on donations to provide clothing for their clients.
Each site has free clothes for TAY clients, too. Penny Lane receives generous clothing donations from community donors and partners and makes sure that each youth has access to clean and wearable clothes. New socks, underwear, and t-shirts are also available to all TAY clients.
Drop-in centers have computers with internet access so clients are able to do online tasks. For most people, the internet is an essential part of daily life—but many clients do not have access to computers or Wi-Fi. By providing these fundamentals, drop-in centers can significantly boost a client’s effort to improve their situation.
Many drop-in centers have programs to help their clients continue their education or find a job. For education, clients may receive guidance on how to successfully complete or progress in their studies, and may also receive life skills training to make them more self-sufficient in their daily lives. For employment, clients may receive job skills training, be enrolled in a job placement program, or get assistance gaining copies of important documentation that’s required by employers (i.e. a state I.D. card or social security number).
Drop-in centers may help clients get treatment for physical and mental health issues and substance use disorder. They might offer basic first-aid services, and sexual health education and supplies.
Many drop-in centers run support groups where people suffering from mental illness, homelessness, abuse, SUD, or other difficult life situations can speak openly about their experiences and gain perspective and support from people in similar situations.
In addition to support groups, drop-in centers provide a comfortable place for clients to socialize, make friends, and create valuable connections that are integral to one’s happiness and personal growth.
Some drop-in centers run “transitional housing programs” that help homeless clients become financially self-sufficient. These programs are designed to help homeless clients become financially, mentally, and logistically prepared to gain permanent housing on their own.
Drop-in centers provide a critical safe space for those escaping from abuse, a mental health crisis (i.e. panic / anxiety attacks), and prejudicial treatment (often suffered by minorities and LGBTQ persons).
Drop-in centers are crucial for:
Drop-in centers can help people experiencing homelessness—or those at risk of homelessness—by offering referrals to shelters and providing resources to help them gain personal and financial stability.
Penny Lane TAY Drop in Centers assist youth experiencing homelessness as well as youth at risk of homelessness with referrals and linkages to TAY shelters. Assessments can also be completed for youth seeking more long-term housing solutions.
Transition-age youth (ages 16-25) may be especially vulnerable to homelessness, mental health issues, and abuse. Drop-in centers provide TAY with a safe space and may provide a variety of resources specifically geared toward young people.
At Penny Lane, TAY can access our services by walking in to complete a short intake with our team members during hours of operation. No formal referral process needed.
Some drop-in programs offer substance use disorder programs to assist people struggling with an addiction.
TAY clients seeking support with drug/alcohol addiction can be referred to Penny Lane’s Substance Use Disorder Program.
Drop-in centers are helpful for people suffering from mental health struggles. In addition to providing a safe space for people experiencing mental health episodes, drop-in centers may also provide referrals for professional mental health services or even have professional therapists on staff.
Youth are encouraged to talk to our TAY Drop-in Center therapists when they need support or need to vent. Clients can be referred to ongoing mental health services if requested. Youth may also participate in Seeking Safety mental health workshops led by our TAY Clinicians.
Drop-in centers give short-term assistance, but empower long-term solutions. Clients may come to drop-in centers seeking immediate relief from their day-to-day struggles. However, drop-in centers give many people the stability, support, and resources to fight and overcome their personal battles and build a healthier life.
Here’s what to look for when you’re seeking a drop-in center:
TAY Drop in Centers across Los Angeles County offer similar services and support for youth and they work collaboratively with the LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) as well as the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Clients seeking services outside of Penny Lane’s service areas can be referred to similar services closer to the youth’s location in order to still provide resources that the client can more easily access.
Penny Lane TAY Drop-in Centers aim to provide youth with immediate access to basic needs as well as a variety of youth programs that support mental wellness, stability and promote independence.
TAY Drop in Centers across Los Angeles County offer similar services and support for youth and they work collaboratively with the LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) as well as the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Clients seeking services outside of Penny Lane’s service areas can be referred to similar services closer to the youth’s location in order to still provide resources that the client can more easily access. Learn more at lacounty.gov.