The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is completing the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count in January 2015 and they need your help! Join us to make a difference in the lives of our homeless neighbors throughout Los Angeles County. Click here to register and learn about the available roles!
The Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) is a partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE) and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to help income-qualified families pay their electric bill, providing partial financial stability during a time of great need.
The EAF program was started in 1982 as a seasonal winter program lasting only eight to twelve weeks and helping on average 4,000 families. The program has since grown to meet the expanding need of the community, serving approximately 14,000 households over a 12 month period. Since 1982, SCE and its employees have assisted over 200,000 families through investments of approximately $12 million into the program with an additional $4 million contributed from their customers. SCE and United Way of Greater Los Angeles have partnered for over 30 years on the Energy Assistance Fund. “United Way of Greater Los Angeles is pleased to partner with Southern California Edison on their Energy Assistance Fund, also known as EAF.” says UWLA President, Elise Buik. “Here in LA County, one in five children lives in poverty. The United Way is committed to creating pathways out of poverty so that every hard-working family and individual has the tools they need to be financially stable. We know that even the smallest amount of help can make a tremendous difference for someone in need.” “As the fund administrator for the EAF program, we work with over 70 community based organizations to provide payment assistance to customers who are unable to pay their bill.” continued Buik.
How Can You Help?
Today’s tough economic times have hit Californians hard. Many of our neighbors need help paying their energy bills—especially seniors and families with children. The United Way and SCE work together to provide up to $100 per 12-month period to qualified customers struggling to pay their electricity bills.
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3, 2014 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is once again inviting customers and employees to contribute to the company’s Gas Assistance Fund, a bill-assistance program that helps income-qualified customers facing financial hardships with a one-time grant of up to $100 per customer. As in years past, SoCalGas partners with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to distribute the funds to customers who face hardships.
“The Gas Assistance Fund gives help to some of our customers who are facing emergency situations,” said Gillian Wright, vice president of customer services for SoCalGas. “We’d like to thank our caring customers and employees whose generous donations for 31 years have helped improve the quality of life of our customers who need extra support. We gratefully welcome their support.”
“This year, we can help thousands have the gift of warmth,” said Christine Marge director of housing stability at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “No one in our communities should have to choose between keeping warm or buying groceries. We are grateful to those who have supported the program for the past 31 years and continue to support those in need through the Gas Assistance Fund.”
Anyone interested in making a contribution is asked to mail their voluntary tax-deductible donations to: United Way, Gas Assistance Fund, File 56826, Los Angeles, CA 90074-6826, or donate online at www.unitedwayla.org.
Since the program’s inception in 1983, SoCalGas customers, employees, and shareholders have contributed more than $21 million, with funds distributed annually. The Gas Assistance Fund is administered by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and has so far helped more than 220,000 SoCalGas customers pay their natural gas utility bills in times of need.
SoCalGas collects donations to the Gas Assistance Fund throughout the year and will distribute the funds between February and the end of May 2015, or until they are depleted. Customers can visit socalgas.com (search “GAF”) to learn if they qualify for a grant. SoCalGas and United Way of Greater Los Angeles work with 80 to 100 volunteer, nonprofit and community-based organizations throughout its service territory to help income-qualified customers obtain a grant to pay their natural gas utility bill.
In addition to the Gas Assistance Fund, SoCalGas offers other customer assistance programs and services that can help customers manage home energy costs during the winter months. More information is available at socalgas.com or toll-free at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish.
In today’s “Why” John Horn VP of Programs at LA Family Housing reflects on a recent article about a man that died after three decades on the streets as a “John Doe.”
He was not born to become homeless and certainly had hopes and dreams of a better life. Despite his situation, he showed that he cared about the people he lived with as evidenced by the good deeds he performed in the strip mall – especially watching the unlocked shop. He was a man that lived among us but no one really knew who he was or even his real name.
While reading the article, I was thinking about LA Family Housing – as the SPA 2 Coordinated Entry System (CES) lead – and the work we are doing with local partners to create a process where by we will identify all ofhomeless persons in our community by name. It is important as we find persons like this man – to ask how they are doing, assess their needs, and see how we can help them to become permanently housed. This work puts a face to homelessness, making it not so common place. I think about our five SPA 2 CES Housing Navigators and how we now have a person assigned to the community where this man lived. The navigator will connect to persons experiencing homelessness to learn about them and their needs. It is outreach that has not been performed before in SPA 2 on such a large scale; our work will end the tragedy of a homeless person dying in the street who is known only as a “John Doe.” Though this story is sad, I am encouraged by our Coordinated Entry System efforts and will use this as an example for why ending homelessness matters.
Partners like LA Family Housing are leading efforts in their community to identify all of our homeless neighbors, assess their needs and match them quickly to housing and services that best fit their needs through the Coordinated Entry System. They focus on providing permanent housing and services for our most vulnerable neighbors. This past week they held the Grand Opening of their latest housing development, Trudy and Norman Louis Apartments, which provides 45 units of permanent supportive housing and was partially filled by individuals identified and matched through the Coordinated Entry System.
Why do you believe in ending homelessness? What inspires you to keep working towards this goal?
Why Do We Work to End Homelessness? The following is a letter from Christine Marge, Director of Home For Good, please read and share this story and join the movement by walking in support of Home For Good’s work to end chronic and veteran homelessness by signing up for HomeWalk on November 15th at www.homewalkla.org:
This morning I was writing and reflecting on my week – what we had accomplished, where I had fallen short, and what had touched me along the way. I had a powerful reminder this week of why I do this work and why I love my job, and I wanted to share that story with you.
Each Friday, we’ll share a story – yours and ours – with the hope of connecting the threads of what knits us together as a community and as a movement. What’s your “why?” What inspires you to keep doing this work every day? Share your stories with us by emailing email@example.com.
I met Mark as I was walking home from work this week. He approached me with tears in his eyes, saying he felt like “a big baby” – at least 6 feet tall, strong, in his late 40s or 50s. He was released from prison the day before, and while sleeping on Skid Row that night, he was kicked in the jaw and robbed of the few belongings he had left, and woke up to the feeling of his arm pulled in one direction as they took his backpack and his leg in another as they took the shoes off his feet.
He started crying harder as he said, “my mom died while I was in. I just want my mom…”
I listened, tears in my eyes, as he shared more. At the end of our conversation, I walked away in awe of the beauty of this man willing to set aside his pride in favor of connection. It’s hard to express without sounding trite or cliche what a profound gift that was to me.
I feel the urgency around ending homelessness every day, which is the “what” of my job, but moments like these remind me that the transformative power of human connection is at the heart of why I do it.
My purpose is sharing this story is to communicate the heart of why I do this work, but a few of you also asked what happened to Mark. Here’s what I’ve shared:
He felt ok about finding somewhere safe to sleep that night, so I asked him to call me the next morning if he still wanted/needed connection to a more permanent place to live. He didn’t call. And I was at peace with that, knowing that wherever he is, he knows that someone in the world cared enough to listen and that the line is open if he wants/needs it.
I want to give a HUGE shout out to Danielle Wildkress from CSH who focuses on reentry work and responded immediately to my question of where Mark could go for help. She linked me to Doug Bond and Alan Richards at Amity Foundation who were willing to connect with Mark right away and support him. Peggy Edwards of UHHP and LARRP also reached out to let me know of great resources for Mark.
So there’s a network here for Mark. That’s what I love about this job. Each of you, wanting to do everything you can to be that network of hope and love!
With the help of our generous corporate leaders, we are building a better Los Angeles. We regularly highlight our top corporate leaders and salute them for helping us create pathways out of poverty. United Way of Greater Los Angeles extends a huge thanks to these leaders and corporations working with us to permanently break the cycle of poverty for our most vulnerable neighbors: families, children, veterans and the homeless.
Thank You to Our Friends at Goudy Honda
The Los Angeles County Employees Charitable Giving Campaign is off to another exciting start this year! Thank you to all of our Los Angeles County Employees for helping to improve Los Angeles and in helping those in need.
A very special THANK YOU goes out to the outstanding folks at Goudy Honda! Goudy Honda has generously donated a beautiful 2014 Honda Civic to be awarded in a drawing for the Los Angeles County Charitable Giving Campaign. The proceeds from the drawing will help to continue the outstanding work of organizations like the Asian Pacific Community, Brotherhood Crusade, Community Health Charities, EarthShare of California, United Latino Fund, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California.
It is a record breaking year for the Home For Good Funders Collaborative!
The Home For Good Funders Collaborative is a core group of local public and private funding and policy leaders, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Weingart Foundation, LA County Departments of Mental Health & Health Services, Housing Authority of the City of LA, Veterans Administration of Greater LA and many more (listed below). In its third year of funding, permanent supportive housing and systematic solutions to homelessness in LA, major public and private funders came together this year to coordinate a record $213 million to support 24 organizations and expand regional efforts around Coordinated Entry System (CES). As Steve Hilton, President & CEO of the Hilton Foundation stated, “We believe the implementation of the Coordinated Entry System throughout the county will have a dramatic and rapid impact on chronic and veteran homelessness in every corner of the L.A. region.” Coordinated Entry System began last year in Skid Row with a community-led pilot with support from Community Solutions and Rapid Results Institute, and grew to 7 communities throughout the county incorporating over 60 organizations in the last year. The Collaborative’s support will help this community-designed and policy-supported system of change, continue to expand to include all areas of LA county and all populations in need of housing and supportive services.
Additionally, the grants of the Funders Collaborative will ensure that 1,400 new individuals are permanently housed with all of the support services they need to be successful. These housing opportunities will offer support for up to 15 years of housing and support for those who need it most.
Funders Collaborative Members:
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, United Way of Greater LA, Weingart Foundation, Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation LA, California Community Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, UniHealth Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, Corporation for Supportive Housing
City of Pasadena, Housing Authority of the City of LA, LA Community Investment Department, LA County Housing Authority, LA County Departments of Mental Health & Health Services, Veterans Administration of Greater LA, LA County Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe
2014-2015 Funded Partners: A Community of Friends, Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council, Ascencia, Clifford Beers Housing, Door of Hope, Downtown Women’s Center, Emotional Health Association (SHARE!), Harbor Interfaith Services Inc, Homeless Health Care LA, L.A.F.H. Temporary Housing Corporation, Lamp Inc, Mental Health America of LA, Mercy Housing California, Ocean Park Community Center, Our Place Housing Solutions, Path Venture, PATH, SFV Community Mental Health Center, SRO Housing Corporation, Skid Row Housing Trust, Special Services Groups (HOPICS), St Joseph Center, Step Up on Second, Union Station Homeless Services