Tags: miley cyrus | vma date | my friends place

Miley Cyrus' VMA Date Spotlights Homeless Youth; Guy Has Criminal Record

By    |   Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:29 AM

Miley Cyrus' date for MTV's Video Music Awards on Sunday was a young man named Jesse Helt, a former homeless youth.

When the singer won her first-ever VMA for Video of the Year, Helt accepted the award on her behalf, reading a speech they crafted together.

"My name is Jesse and I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost, and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I am one of these people," he told the star-studded crowd and millions watching at home.

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"Los Angeles, the entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America," he added.

He explained that he met Cyrus through My Friend's Place, a homeless youth center in L.A., and asked the audience to support the fundraising campaign she was hosting on the organization's behalf.

The campaign page, linked to on all of Cyrus' social media profiles, encourages people to donate to My Friend's Place, with each $5 donation netting participants a chance to see the pop star perform in Rio de Janeiro on September 28. Those who donate $50 or $125 will receive a special T-shirt or hoodie designed by Cyrus herself.

"My Friend's Place is so grateful for Miley's genuine interest and involvement in supporting homeless youth in Los Angeles," My Friend's Place Executive Director Heather Carmichael said after the show.

According to a blog post on the My Friend's Place website, Cyrus recently visited the center, getting a tour from the staff and meeting many of the homeless youths they serve.

"Cyrus spent the afternoon at My Friend’s Place meeting with youth, learning about the challenges that our young people face on the streets and touring our facilities," the organization wrote. "Shortly after leaving, Miley shared with her millions of fans and followers on social media that she had the pleasure of hanging out with 'some of the coolest young people' she's ever met."

In the days following the VMA's, other celebrities like Britney Spears, Susan Sarandon, Maria Shriver, and Jon Cryer all tweeted and retweeted their support, applauding Cyrus for spotlighting the issue of youth homelessness.

On Monday, The Oregonian spoke with Linda Helt, confirming the identity of her son Jesse, 22, from Salem, Oregon. She said that she had gotten a call from Jesse, telling her that Cyrus had given him some money to make a visit home. He had moved to Los Angeles to become a model, but ended up in some bad living situations, and eventually became homeless.

Some media outlets then discovered that Jesse Helt has a warrant for his arrest in Oregon for violating probation. When he was 18, he was convicted of criminal mischief and trespass, for which he was fined and sentenced to community service and a year's probation.

Cyrus responded to reports about Helt's past behavior on Tuesday in a series of tweets, saying, "The media never fails to disappoint. You've chosen to go after Jesse instead of covering the issue of youth homelessness."

She continued, bringing the spotlight back to the larger cause, writing, "People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included. I hope that this can be the start of a national conversation about youth homelessness and how to end it."

Get More: 2014 VMA, Artists.MTV, Music

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Miley Cyrus' date for MTV's Video Music Awards on Sunday was a young man named Jesse Helt, a former homeless youth.
miley cyrus, vma date, my friends place
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:29 AM
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