Miley Cyrus gave up her spotlight during Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards to raise awareness for the struggles of homelessness, but those few minutes merely scratched the surface of the issue.
Cyrus, who has been working with the Los Angeles-based service organization My Friends Place, brought a homeless young man named Jesse Helt as her date to the 2014 VMAs. When it came time for her to receive the Moonman trophy for Video of the Year, she allowed Helt to accept the award for her "on behalf of the runaways and homeless youth."
The poignant moment proved to be a highlight of the night and earned Cyrus high praise on social media. Among the celebs applauding her effort were Britney Spears, Cara Delevigne, Susan Sarandon, Ariana Grande and Maria Shriver.
"I have survived at shelters all over the city," Helt said during his speech. "I have been an extra in your movies. I have been an extra in your life. Though I have been invisible in your life, I have the same dreams as many [of you]."
Days after he appeared on national television, news surfaced that Helt is currently wanted in the state of Oregon.
According to the Polk County Circuit Court, Helt was arrested back in October 2010 for attempted burglary and criminal mischief in the third degree. He was convicted of criminal trespassing in the first degree and sentenced to one year of supervised probation, 88 hours of community service and ordered to complete and adjust class. Additionally, Helt was charged $572 in fines and $186 in restitution.
Helt was also charged with criminal mischief in the third degree and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The following year, Helt was ordered back to court three times for failing to report to his probation officer, failing to submit urine sample, using controlled substances and neglecting to follow through on the terms of his probation. Helt had returned to court twice in April and August 2011, and was able to continue his probation. When a third motion to revoke his probation was filed in November 2011, Helt did not return to court. Today, a warrant is still active for his arrest.
Public records indicate that Helt -- who received his GED from Salem, Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College -- moved to Los Angeles in early 2013. Helt’s mother, Linda Helt, told The Oregonian that her son was looking to “make it on his own” in California. He was homeless at that time, she confirmed.
Linda Helt also revealed that Cyrus had given her 22-year-old son money to travel home to visit family after the VMAs. "He's going to be traveling to Oregon today," she said on Monday.
Of meeting Cyrus, Linda Helt said "He was at the right place at the right time… He needs to be blessed."
News of Helt's warrant is likely to raise eyebrows among critics, but it should also raise awareness of the many struggles faced by runaways and homeless youths every day. No word yet on whether Helt will face his warrant while visiting his home state.
UPDATE: Cyrus weighed in on the public's reaction to Helt's past through a series of tweets.
People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014
I hope that this can be the start of a national conversation about youth homelessness and how to end it.— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014
Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction?— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014