A Sense of Home Named a 2016 CNN Hero

L.A.-Based Nonprofit Designs Homes for Aged-Out Foster Youth Using Donated Furniture and Housewares

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - June 10, 2016) - Los Angeles-based nonprofit A Sense of Home and founder Georgie Smith today were recognized by the prestigious CNN Heroes initiative, which honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others. A Sense of Home works to transform the lives of at-risk foster youth who age out of the foster care system by creating their first-ever homes using donated furniture and housewares as well as more than 1,800 volunteers.

"It is an incredible honor to be named a 2016 CNN Hero, a recognition which we hope furthers awareness of the challenges faced by those transitioning out of the foster care system," said A Sense of Home founder Georgie Smith. "A disproportionate amount of former foster youth struggle with housing problems, criminal behavior and substance abuse. A Sense of Home believes that giving these youth a foundation from which to create a path to success is a way to change these statistics."

Founded in September 2014 by Smith, a designer and chef, A Sense of Home seeks to provide a better start for foster care youth who age out of the system without family or community networks to help them transition into adulthood. Of the 20,000-35,000 young people nationally who exit the foster care system each year without permanent family connections:

  • 50 percent will experience homelessness, and at least one-in-five will become chronically homeless.
  • 50 percent will be unemployed by the age of 24.
  • Less than three percent will earn a college degree and only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds).
  • One-in-four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving foster care.
  • 71 percent of young women will be pregnant by age 21.

A Sense of Home relies on donations of gently-used furniture and housewares, as well as the generous time of volunteers, to create living environments for qualifying former foster youth. Significantly, each beneficiary pays it forward by partaking as a team member to create another youth's home. In the process, the A Sense of Home community acts as extended family to the transitioning youth, providing practical and emotional support, and, when possible, professional connections they might not otherwise have.

A Sense of Home will complete its 100th home on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Each year, 25 CNN Heroes are profiled on the global networks of CNN and CNN.com. This fall, the 2016 Top 10 CNN Heroes will be announced, and viewers will be given the opportunity to vote online for the CNN Hero of the Year. Each of the top 10 receives $10,000 and the Hero of the Year receives an additional $100,000. For more information about the CNN Heroes campaign, visit CNNHeroes.com.

For more information about A Sense of Home and the challenges faced by youth who age out of the foster care system, visit ASenseofHome.org. To make a donation, visit CrowdRise.com/A-Sense-of-Home.

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