Urban Health

The Kindness Closet

The Kindness Closet began in 2022 as a volunteer operated initiative of Urban Health to serve foster youth who were being emancipated or discharged from the foster care system because they turned age 19 and continued services were no longer funded. These young people would often run away, become homeless or get placed into transitional housing environments without access to sufficient resources, support or even household supplies such as bedding, pots, pans, dishes, etc. It is frightening enough to be this age and have to navigate life all alone, without the support or guidance of family but even more devastating when youth have lived in foster care most of their lives and many have suffered from severe abuse or neglect resulting in clinical depression or other mental illness.   More often than not, the safety net is yanked right from under them when they are forced out of the foster care system with devastating consequences. Despite the increased awareness regarding this crisis, government funding is still insufficient or completely lacking for necessities such as household supplies, hygiene items, professional attire for career or job interviews as well as emergency supplies and support for those experiencing traumatic events in their lives.   The program has grown from providing emergency bags of food, hygiene supplies, emotional support and outfits for job interviews to our current comprehensive model that serves not only foster youth, but the needs of the Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County and Riverside County communities as well. The incredible growth of the program has required increasingly more resources, but the Kindness Closet has risen to the challenge and as we grow in scope and services offered, we remain mindful of the words   WE ARE AVAILABLE EVERY DAY, 24-HOURS AROUND THE CLOCK WHEN THE NEED IS URGENT All items are free of charge and available anytime, 24/7 to those who have an immediate need or who are faced with an emergency. Some of the participants have needs that resulted from the loss of a home from a disaster (such as a fire) or financial challenges from the loss of income, such as unemployment or illness.¬†Other times, an immediate need presents itself when there is an act of violence, rape or critically injured patients who have suffered gunshot wounds, been in car crashes, suffered industrial accidents or had serious accidents and have no one to bring them a change of clothes or hold their hand while they are hospitalized or entering treatment housing.