Meet Local Hero Nominee: Louis Tse

Louis Tse became inspired to start Students 4 Students (formerly known as Bruin Shelter) while a graduate student at UCLA, studying mechanical engineering. 

Title: Executive Director

Organization: Students 4 Students (formerly known as Bruin Shelter)

Website: https://www.s4sla.org/

“Louis continues to inspire as he has not only persevered through challenges presented by his own homelessness while completing his PhD at UCLA, but he has created a place for many other students to call home and to find the support they need.” – Bobby Kobara, Nominator

Highlights:

  • Louis Tse became inspired to start Students 4 Students (formerly known as Bruin Shelter) while a graduate student at UCLA, studying mechanical engineering.
  • Observed students sleeping  late at night in classrooms, student activity center, and other places not meant for sleeping, and realizing it was clear they didn’t have a place to sleep that night.
  • Discovered there were few resources for these students, as existing emergency shelters offer a bed only for a couple of nights. Tse opened the Bruin Shelter, which is a shelter for homeless college students, and it is run entirely by college students. It allows students to stay for six months and helps them find permanent housing.
  • Roughly 58,000 students indicate they’re homeless on U.S. financial aid forms. But researchers believe the numbers are much higher than that. In California, one in five community college students is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, according to a recent report.
  • In 2015, when he committed to making the shelter a reality, he moved into his car and slept there for the next two years to fund the shelter even after finishing his Ph.D. in May 2016.
  • Currently working as a Thermal Engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, building spacecraft to study the planets of our solar system, including our own. On his nights and weekends, he still serves as the Executive Director of Students 4 Students.
  • The shelter is operated entirely by college students, meaning that more than 90% of all dollars received goes directly to operating the shelter for young people who need it.

More on Louis Tse and Students 4 Students: 

Daily Bruin: Students Start Bruin Shelter for Westwood Homeless

KQED: Homeless U: First Shelter Just for College Students Opens Its Doors