Tyler De Los Reyes says, "I had a good family. We didn't have any violence. We just didn't have a place to stay." He was out on the streets by age 13. De Los Reyes says he and his mom and older brother recently got an apartment, but for five years he lived on the street or in shelters.
"There is a lot of help in San Diego for you if you are a homeless kid under 17. But once you turn 18, your whole world changes."
He says the programs that helped him, such as Storefront and Casa Nuestra, turn away kids once they turn 18. De Los Reyes says many of the kids who turn 18 rely on "survivor sex.... There is a place in Balboa Park called the 'fruit loop.' They do it just so they can get food or stay in a hotel room."
Jeffrey Sitcov's Photocharity nonprofit has raised over $1 million for Storefront (SD Youth and Community Services' Emergency Runaway Shelter) by auctioning off autographed rock-star gear, staging benefit concerts, and securing corporate donations. He has organized the "Concert of Hope honoring B.B. King" next month to raise money for a new permanent facility that will help out homeless kids aged 18--24. All of the artists on the bill (King, George Thorogood, Paul Rodgers, Taj Mahal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and more) are playing pro bono.
De Los Reyes will play the show with a band made up of young people he met through Storefront. The Concert of Hope is October 12 at SDSU's Open Air Theatre. Tickets run from $54 to $180, but at press time, the organization's website (www.photocharity.org) indicated that the show was sold out.