From Homeless to Vogue

Jun 23, 2021 | by The Salvation Army

When Brandon first arrived in #LosAngeles from his small town in #Canada, he had no idea where he was going or how he was going to live. He had heard of #Hollywood, so he walked from LAX until he got there.

Brandon had been kicked out of his family home when he came out as gay. He made the decision to go to Los Angeles. In his mind, the city offered the way toward his dream of becoming a fashion designer and he also believed it to be ‘gay-friendly’—a place where he could be himself. But when he got there, he didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any money, so he slept on the streets for a month.

“It was a major culture shock. I grew up in a little town of about 1000 people in Canada near the Artic. L.A. was so crowded and so hot. But I decided, I’m here now.” 

He finally found the Hollywood LGBT Center and they referred him to The Salvation Army Way In Youth Center.

The Way In Youth Center was founded to help children escape Hollywood street life and provide a home-like environment in which abused and/ or neglected teenagers can live safely and mature into productive and independent young adults. The Way In is home to many of the 8,000 homeless youth who sleep on the streets of Los Angeles each night.

“I was hesitant at first to come in, but when I did, everyone was very welcoming. They were not judgmental of where you’d been. They just wanted to help you move forward to a better place.”

Brandon was placed in transitional housing. Through the next few months his case workers helped him get back into school, helped him with his visa so he could find a job and connected him with other services including mental health assistance.

With his degree now in hand, he moves a little closer to his dream. Next week he starts an internship with Vogue Magazine and moves into his own apartment. He says he couldn’t have done it without the help from The Salvation Army. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

To help other teens like Brandon, donate to The Way In at :

#youth #homeless #fashion #love #support #savingalife #lgbtq #vogue 

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