House of Haven, a new nonprofit supporting at-risk youth, hosts fundraiser Sunday

One of the main challenges facing the Long Beach area is its homelessness crisis, an issue that’s been central in this year’s election cycle and become a priority for state, local and community leaders.

One of those community leaders stepping up is Brandi Brown-Shock, who’s created a nonprofit to address the issue at its early stages by giving at-risk teens and young adults the support they need while helping them achieve their goals.

House of Haven was founded earlier this year by Brown-Shock, who has over 25 years of experience working with nonprofits to support underprivileged youth.

In order to help fund House of Haven’s work, the organization is hosting a Sunday brunch fundraiser on June 12. The event will run from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at The Bembridge House in Long Beach. Tickets are $75 per person and the event will include food, drinks (with plenty of champagne), and fun activities for guests.

After starting her work in Skid Row and spending much of her career in Los Angeles, Brown-Shock has now turned her attention back to her hometown, founding House of Haven in North Long Beach. The nonprofit is focused on serving individuals aged 14-24, providing them with necessary resources like housing, food, toiletries, clothing, and more.

House of Haven also works to reconnect them with school or provide vocational training and get them on a career path.

“It’s mainly for what we call disconnected youth,” Brown-Shock explained. “Those youth that are disconnected from school, work, or post-secondary education. … Whether they’re on probation, foster, pregnant/parent teens, non-grads, this is the space for them. Once they come in we do a pre-assessment, and from there we create their individual plan depending on their needs and where they want to get to.”

Brandi Brown-Shock, CEO and founder of House of Haven, works on her laptop on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

With her years of expertise working with folks who are either recently unhoused or on the verge of homelessness, Brown-Shock said that community organizations like House of Haven are where much of the real work of combating—and preventing—homelessness takes place.

“With my population,” she said, “I’m trying to catch them on the verge, because once they hit that place of what we call chronic homelessness, to be honest, it’s so difficult to provide services for them. They’ve figured out how to sleep on the street and have been there for years. So with my organization and other organizations like it, trying to catch them before they enter that cycle is key.”

Of course, not every story has a happy ending and Brown-Shock admits to a fair share of heartbreak along the way. But the victories she does experience are what motivate her to keep going, and she’s hopeful that a successful fundraiser will help House of Haven provide even more services to those in need of support.

“That’s what pushes me more and more. If I can grab them, take them by the hand and say ‘Okay, let’s do this. Let’s figure this out,’” Brown-Shock said. “I guarantee you’ll come out better than when you came in. Sometimes they don’t reach all their goals, but they’ll reach one or two, and that’s still a blessing for them.”

House of Haven is at 5231 Atlantic Ave. For more information on the services they provide, and to purchase tickets to Sunday’s fundraiser, visit www.HouseOfHaven.org.

House of Haven, a hub for homeless youth, slated to open in North Long Beach this May

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