StandUp for Kids – Orange County
In uncertain times like these, StandUp for Kids – Orange County finds it especially important and necessary to double our efforts in helping at-risk youths forge a path for a better future. One of the most significant ways to impact them is to provide safety and shelter. That is why we’re excited to share more about strides made in our affordable housing program.
Our housing program seeks to help place our youths in stable long-term living situations and give them the resources to succeed. StandUp for Kids recognizes that it isn’t enough to find housing for our youth. We ensure that when we house our youth they are supported and given the tools to succeed. We stick with them, providing mentoring support and helping them develop the necessary skills to achieve personal stability. This has been the core of our mission for many years and has helped countless youth put a roof over their heads and find a brighter path forward.
Things have shifted in 2020 after StandUp for Kids – Orange County received multiple Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to provide rapid re-housing support. These grants now provide StandUp for Kids direct exposure to the county’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) and a new focus on transitional aged youth (TAY). You can read more about that here.
To take on this expanded role in Orange County, we brought in two talented individuals: Housing Case Manager Arlene Rangel and Housing Navigator Stephanny Razo. Both women share prior informative experiences and a desire for a better world. Arlene and Stephanny are uniquely equipped to lead our rapid re-housing program to combat youth homelessness.
For Arlene, the subject of homelessness is also a personal matter that further drives her to do all she can. From a distance, Arlene helplessly witnessed her father battle against homelessness and its cyclical nature as he refused all of her aid. She saw her father bounce back and forth between housing and living on the streets, never feeling settled and always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Arlene Rangel, Housing Case Manager
It wasn’t until much later that her father finally found that stability and was able to settle down without fear of being uprooted once more. It wasn’t easy but it helped Arlene realize the difficulty of overcoming homelessness.
Later in her life, Arlene would see something similar occur with a friend. This time she would play a more active role, driving her friend around to his meetings and providing him the emotional support that one needs when struggling.
“I saw him go through all trials and tribulations of homelessness. It was all foreign to me, and I was just blown away because I had no idea. There was this whole world of people who are just trying to get housed and find stability,” said Arlene.
This experience opened Arlene’s eyes to the world of homeless services and housing programs; she was intrigued by it all. After watching her father and friend endure disadvantages and strife, Arlene realized the overwhelming challenges of overcoming homelessness and the impossibility of dealing with it all alone. Thus, she joined StandUp for Kids and is now a voice for homeless youth.
For Stephanny, she has always had a desire to help those in need. Much of her experience with youth in need stems from her decade long career in the school district helping special needs children. There was one particular experience that drove Stephanny to get involved with Standup for Kids and its mission to provide for youth in need.
Stephanny Razo, Housing Navigator
During her time working at a mental institution, Stephanny was involved in assisting a youth group situated there. One day one of the youth group members confessed to her about his desire to leave the group and the hospital. He would tell Stephanny about how he ended up at the hospital, first losing his parents and then becoming homeless because of depression.
“I just thought it was a perfect chance because I’ll never forget what that young man told me. He ended up in a mental institution because he was homeless. He had no form of financial or emotional support,” said Stephanny.
It was this child that taught Stephanny the necessity of emotional support and mentorship for youths. The StandUp for Kids mentorship program is an important part of the support system we provide to our youth and is why Stephanny joined our organization. StandUp for Kids seeks to provide that safe environment where youths, regardless of their past or what they’re going through, feel loved and supported.
“StandUp for Kids opens up horizons for our youths to be placed where they should be,” said Stephanny.
For Arlene and Stephanny, the tremendous progress made thus far with our housing program is just the beginning. Together they have lofty ambitions and want to see more youths being housed and placed into stable situations. They work with the Orange County public systems and forge relationships with trusted housing providers. We are excited to have them on our team!
Programs like these are made possible by our passionate group of donors, volunteers, staff, and advocates. If you want to help youths find permanent housing consider donating or emailing [email protected] to find a role volunteering with us.