L.A. Former Foster Youth to Hold Town Hall on Homelessness

Two years ago, I stood on the curb in Los Angeles with my two children and a pile of bags. I thought I was in a dream. I remember the stares, mostly empty stares, as people walked by me silently on Rampart and Third Street. I remained enrolled in high school because I wanted to be a role model for my kids. Nonetheless, a wave of despair, resentment, and hopelessness came over me. I had no idea that my roommate did not pay her side of the rent, and certainly no clue of the pending eviction that followed.

With my babies in need, I tried to avoid the streets by calling my old social worker to see if I could go back into the foster care system since I was still only 17 years old. The social worker said, “If you don’t go back to your [biological] mom’s home, your children are going to get taken away from you.” That statement condemned us to the streets because I refused to return to an abusive home or abandon my children to an unknown fate.

Homeless life followed the eviction. We relocated from motel-to-motel on a weekly basis. I worked and received food stamps, which helped a lot. After six months, I found a relative’s home where we could stay, but experienced daily physical and verbal abuse. I then moved to another kin’s place shortly thereafter. Today, I am grateful to live in a transitional housing facility with my children.

I wish there had been other options available to me when I needed help. Knowing that many former foster youth must suffer the consequences of street trauma, I helped organize the Los Angeles Foster Youth Town Hall on Homelessness. During our first meeting, all six organizers raised our hands, acknowledging first-hand homelessness experience. We believe that street youth need an automatic, no-questions-asked sanctuary option, whether that is foster care or some other viable alternative. I mean, is there ever a reason we should deprive young people housing safety?

If you care about foster youth and want learn about possible solutions, join our foster youth town hall on homelessness tonight at 7 p.m. Pacific on Facebook. Register here.



Monzerratt Lamas
is an advocate for foster youth rights and experienced foster care herself in Los Angeles both as a baby and from ages 13 through 15. She is a leader for Foster Youth Who Vote, a civic association of adults formerly in foster care who wish to engage in meaningful dialogue with our government and child welfare leaders.

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2 Comments

  1. Monsi! you are a good writer. I am sorry for what you went through. You are doing good now. You can help many people through your story. I believe one day you’re not going to live in the world that was given to you, but you’re actually going to live in the world that you one day dream of.

    -Bernard

  2. The article went up way too late. Too bad this one is owned by the lawyers with their attached agenda. If you want to improve the foster system, which they don’t, just go talk to the tens of thousands of former foster kids in prison. 70% of California prisoners were once in foster care but you colonial genocidal maniacs like that.

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