Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Lovett.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We began serving homeless youth about 6 years ago going to the street with hygiene kits, food and water. At which point, realizing there were close to 1000-1500 homeless youth living on the streets on any given night, something else needed to be done.
So after finding out, there were less than 20 beds at the time in San Diego, dedicated to homeless youth (between the ages of 18-25) I brought the first two youth off the streets into my own apartment. It is here I learned what was needed in terms of mental health counseling, rehab, detox, education and employment.
I would soon move into a house where I had 6 homeless youth living with me where the entire goal was to get them to a place of sustainability where they wouldn’t turn to the streets anymore. The best chance we have is to catch those who are homeless at this age, in turn, to see them change and not become chronic homeless and at this age, it’s our best chance.
Fast forward two years, now we have 21 beds in two different facilities where we provide case management, food, resources such as therapy, training, access to banking, schooling, certificate programs and jobs! Now it’s not just all us because we have many partners that all bring resources to our youth, however, we are the only program of its kind where we house and employ our youth who all are 1. homeless and 2. SMI (severe mentally ill) but very high functioning-so keep in mind, when you have been abused or hurt by those who you thought loved and cared for you, you experience PTSD, depression, etc.. and all those things classify as SMI. In addition to housing we also have created a 2 day a week emergency shelter dedicated only to homeless youth, stop in an overnight shelter if you will!
In the process of training them for jobs, I started 8 West which is an all natural soap company that also makes candles right now. Our goal is for this company to grow so we can hire more of our youth to work with us, teaching them job skills and how to work in order to give them personal responsibility and hope that they can make it! Some youth work for us for months, others just for weeks because they are ready for a job more along what they have a passion for. So we work with other employers that will hire them such as construction companies, car washes, call centers, gyms, restaurants, etc.. Our goal this year is to have 35-40 beds and by 2020 to have more than 75-100 beds all dedicated to homeless youth and giving them that hope that change can happen!!
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but the most rewarding! I now am seeing guys and girls who have come through our program that have a full-time job, full-time student at local universities and have their own place where they are living! That is what makes it worth it. But it took believing in them when they didn’t even believe in themselves.
We work a lot with:
-sex traffic victims
-foster care youth who emancipate
-LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their own home
-Those who’s families are drug addicts and/or abusive
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Urban Street Angels – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
8 West: Make and sell handmade, all natural soap online and in 8 retailers where all the proceeds go to support our homeless youth-all workers are our youth as well.
Urban Street Angels:
-Emergency Shelters for homeless youth
-transitional housing for homeless youth
-job training and employment for homeless youth.
We are fighting homelessness by starting with our youth! Giving them a #handup and not just a handout.
-We are the only overnight emergency shelter in the city dedicated to homeless youth-served over 2000 the past two years
-The only local business that only hires homeless youth and teaches them job skills and helps them move forward in life
-Only program of its kind in transitional living in SD where our youth are diagnosed SMI but they don’t have to take medication-the county of San Diego’s Behavioral Health and Human Services contract us as well.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Weather and the willingness that most San Diegoians have to help those that are less fortunate!
Still some work to be done in the diversity area, sexuality, equality for all, those willing to make a difference in their own world
- Our products on 8 West site are $8 a bar or 3 for $20
- Address: 311 4th Ave Apt 405
- Website: urbanstreetangels.org 8west.org
- Phone: 8584440848
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/urbanstreetangels
- Facebook: Urbanstreetangels