Shelter is one of our most basic needs, and certainly every child should have a safe place to sleep at night. Sadly, many children do not have a safe place to shelter. For example, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority 2020 Homeless Count, there are approximately 4,673 homeless youth on the streets of LA County on any given night. We’ll speak with Erika Hartman, Executive Director of Safe Place for Youth the problem and their mission to solve it. Erika has more than 15 years in the non-profit sector supporting people experiencing homelessness and underserved youth.
Erika Hartman joined Safe Place for Youth in 2021 as the Executive Director, after 15 years in the non-profit sector supporting people experiencing homelessness and underserved youth. Hartman was formerly the Chief Program Officer of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), a nationally recognized homeless services organization, located in the heart of Skid Row. Hartman has also been actively involved in legislative advocacy, at a local and national level, testifying before Congress on the state of homelessness in Los Angeles, and serving as a State Captain for the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Prior to her work at DWC, Hartman served as the Chief Program Officer of Allies for Every Child, a Los Angeles -based child welfare organization, where she led the agency’s national accreditation and was instrumental in shaping the organization’s strategic plan. Hartman also has a background in gang intervention and working with youth in the juvenile justice system, and oversaw programs at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, through Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s initiative on gang reduction and youth development.
Hartman has served on the boards of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative, and the University of Southern California LGBTQ Alumni Association, as well as the Homeless Policy and Research Institute’s Race Equity Committee, and Los Angeles County Commission on Women’s Health Committee. Hartman is also a licensed marriage and family therapist, and received her Master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara.