Miley Cyrus made a strong statement about her dedication to ending youth homelessness at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, and despite the controversy that followed, the singer is remaining committed to the cause.
Cyrus, 21, allowed a young homeless man, Jesse Helt, 22, to accept her VMA award on her behalf at the event, and although it was later revealed in the press that Helt was wanted by police in his native Oregon, Cyrus stuck by her decision to bring him as her date, Tweeting, “Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse [the media’s] inaction?”
Since the incident, Cyrus has been replying to posts left on her Facebook page – which has more than 49 million likes – by fans who have shared personal stories of their own struggles with homelessness, trying to bring a light to their stories and encouraging them to maintain their support of the cause.
One fan, Quay Medley, told Cyrus about how she spent her entire childhood intermittently homeless and living in foster care, and ended up living in her car despite graduating from a prestigious college. “Everyone judging [Helt], please ask yourself where you would be without your parents,” she wrote.
Cyrus replied, “EVERYONE has a past & EVERYONE evolves! Hearing these stories is so inspiring and keep me focused on how important MFP [My Friend’s Place] is to young homeless youth.”
Fan Tanya Robles posted a story about growing up living in a van and having to clean herself in public park bathrooms. “I know how it feels to be homeless,” she posted. “Be thankful for what you have.”
“Thank you for your support and for telling your story!” replied Cyrus. “Young people should be able to enjoy their youth without worrying where their next meal is coming from. This is why I chose MFP, so that we can put an end to youth homelessness.”
Another fan related personally to Helt’s struggles and defended his arrests, which occurred in 2011 when he pleaded guilt to misdemeanor criminal mischief and criminal trespass after breaking into the apartment of a man he believed to be selling bad marijuana.
“Wanted or not it’s probably from being homeless,” posted Michelle Burton. “Having to brake into abandoned houses to sleep when I was 15 was something I had to do don’t go judging if you don’t know there situation.”
“Exactly!” responded Cyrus. “Instead of rushing to judgment, we need to look deeper.”
Tokilupe Havea shared her story of hopefulness on Cyrus’s Facebook fan page. Despite spending two years being homeless and having to “break into the dumpster behind Jack in the Box” for food, Havea made it through her struggles and now has a family of her own and a home, something she credits to homeless youth services.
“Miley, your amazing for taking a stand in the fight against homelessness,” she posted.
“It is so important for people to see the change that they can make in the world,” replied Cyrus. “So beautiful that you can share this story with your daughters and it will keep them inspired to always help others.”