Life Learning Academy was thrilled to be selected as a presenter for the 2018 Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH) Beyond Housing Conference in January. Each year, the ICPH, a policy research organization focused on family homelessness throughout the United States gathers over 700 service providers and thought leaders together to learn about the most effective strategies being used to end homelessness across the country. Life Learning Academy’s breakout session, Award Winning Academics Meets Safe & Stable Housing for Homeless Students highlighted its 20-year academic model supported by longstanding public and private partnerships across San Francisco. The Zellerbach Family Foundation’s Program Executive, Amy Price moderated an action-oriented conversation addressing education for homeless youth and families, speaking to the efficacy of Life Learning Academy’s model. Panelists included Life Learning Academy’s Executive Director, Dr. Teri Delane, San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Patricia Lee and Hamilton Families’ Executive Director, Tomiquia Moss.
Tomiquia Moss kicked the conversation off by providing an overview of what the state of youth and family homelessness looks like across the City & County of San Francisco. She is currently leading San Francisco’s largest initiative, Heading Home to house 800 homeless families by 2020 as a part of an effort to ultimately end long-term homelessness in the city. Moss transitioned the conversation to highlight the importance of providing youth facing homelessness with a circle of care that includes academics noting that there is no one more equipped in doing this than Life Learning Academy. Dr. Teri Delane shared the school’s trajectory that emerged from the Delancey Street Foundation and a comprehensive community planning process addressing San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice system. “We take the kids that no one else can deal with,” said Dr. Delane, describing the population Life Learning Academy has successfully served since 1998. She went on to note “by circling each student with academics, workforce development, mentorship and college and transition services, we make it impossible for our kids to fail, however over the past few years we have found a missing piece of that circle and that is housing.” Panelists echoed the importance and immediate need for creating more housing for the city’s youth and are proud to be supporting Life Learning Academy’s LLABUILD initiative to build the first-of-its-kind public, no-fee dormitory for disconnected teens needing safe and stable housing.
We are committed to transforming the options available to serve youth facing unsafe and unstable housing,” Dr. Delane shared prompting applause from the audience. To date, Life Learning Academy has raised $2.1M from foundations, city agencies, corporations and individuals towards its $3.5M capital campaign goal paving the way for groundbreaking in March 2018.
Members of the audience represented public and private stakeholders from community-based organizations, foundations and school districts across the country. Amy Price underscored the importance of public and private partnerships for those in attendance. She highlighted the school’s award-winning workforce development program as a prime example of how integral public and private partnerships are to Life Learning Academy’s programming and approach in serving their students. The school’s workforce development program is supported by the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families and partners with over 50 community-based organizations and businesses to provide each and every one of their students with an internship that ultimately leads to paid employment opportunities. San Francisco’s Deputy Public Defender, Patricia Lee echoed Amy’s remarks as her office has been an internship host for Life Learning Academy students for over 6 years now.
As Life Learning Academy celebrates its 20th anniversary and approaches a new period of growth, Dr. Delane looks forward to having her team participate in more forums like the ICPH Beyond Housing Conference.