In a widespread effort to assist 49 million Americans who face hunger every day, the National Association of Letter Carriers – in partnership with several organizations including United Way and Labor Community Services – will hold its 21st Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 11.
Last year, residents across L.A. County donated more than 315,000 pounds of food! The challenge that arises from this amazing generosity? Sorting and distributing the food. Volunteers are needed to load/unload, sort and package these items for delivery to local families.
-Shifts are available from 8:00am-12:00pm or 12:00pm-4:00pm everyday.
-Volunteer teams are stronglyencouraged; it’s a great opportunity for students, church groups and service clubs.
In 2009, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) created the first nationwide implementation of housing first and prevention strategies for reducing homelessness. The three year program was comprised of homeless prevention services for those in danger of becoming homeless, and rapid rehousing assistance for people experiencing homelessness and in need of permanent housing.
After three years of HPRP implementation, local project evaluations highlighting lessons learned are beginning to emerge. A couple of weeks ago, Our Place Housing Solutions (OPHS) released its report “Internal Evaluation of the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Rehousing Program Administered.” The report looks at HPRP in East Los Angeles County between 2010 and 2012, and the 360 clients and their households assisted during this period.
One of the most notable findings of OPHS’s evaluation was that rapid rehousing required 58% less direct financial assistance than prevention, but more effort from case managers who had to spend significant time assisting with housing location. The median amount of assistance received by rapid rehousing clients was $2,344, while that of prevention clients was $4,064. Also important to note was that a significant minority of those enrolled in prevention stated that they did not believe they would have become homeless “if not for the assistance” as was required by HUD.
Although homelessness prevention may be more effective in avoiding the personal and social trauma of a household becoming homeless, the implications of this evaluation are that future programs modeled on HPRP and operating with limited funding may be able to help more clients and achieve more concrete results fighting homelessness by prioritizing rapid rehousing over prevention strategies.
Download the full report for more information: full report
Our President and CEO Elise Buik was one of three honorees at The EmpowHer Institute’s recent “Girls to Greatness” Reception. The event recognized female leaders with the PathMaker Award, which applauds exemplary women in the community who have created opportunities for girls and women through their work. Check out this video tribute to Elise that was featured at the event.
Assembly Bill 639 (the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act) would help adapt California’s resources to better meet the changing dynamics of its Veteran population. While still preserving a portion of money intended to assist Veterans who wish to purchase single family homes, AB 639 would allow voters to decide on redistributing $600 million to focus on rehabilitating multifamily Veterans’ housing. By focusing on Veterans who are at risk for or who are currently homeless, this bill will help meet the growing demand among California’s Veterans for multifamily and supportive housing. These proven and cost-effective models decrease public costs and provide a wider range of housing options more representative of California’s Veteran population.
California leads the nation with 19,000 homeless Veterans – nearly one-fourth of the country’s entire population. Let’s move our state from being the country’s leader in number of homeless Veterans to a trailblazer in helping reach the national goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015!
A fact sheet and sample letter of support for the bill can both be obtained HERE. Please join us in supporting this important bill, and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day for our country.
On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 the Executive Members of United Way’s Women Leaders took part in a very special evening designed to unite women in the true spirit of friendship and philanthropy. The intimate gathering – hosted by United Way Board Member Caroline Nahas – featured both an address by WL Cabinet Chair Patricia Hausknost and a tribute to former Cabinet Chair Jan Cloyde.
Help create a healthcare system that maximizes our resources and meets everyone’s healthcare needs – endorse Assembly Bill 361!
Nearly half of California’s Medi-Cal funds are spent on 4% of the population. The funds spent on these “frequent users” are often the result of reoccurring emergency room visits and a lack of available in-home care. Rising healthcare costs, coupled with a lack of appropriate care for California’s most vulnerable residents (including many chronically homeless individuals), have continuously been a problem for the state.
AB 361 promises to alleviate the burdens on our healthcare system through comprehensive healthcare services. The bill will allow California to provide “health home services” – such as outreach services, intensive case management, hospital discharge planning, and connection to social services – that have been proven to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for the “frequent users” and chronically homeless populations. Furthermore, it will not cost the state a dime, but will be paid for by a combination of federal, county, and private investment funds (including a two-year commitment from the California Endowment to fund the entire non-federal share of the costs for the Health Home program).
Let’s lower state healthcare costs, bring more federal resources to the state, and, most importantly, improve healthcare services for those who need them the most! We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation, and add your organization’s name and voice to helping this bill become a reality.
Company and organizational endorsements for the bill are currently being collected by its author, Assembly Member Holly Mitchell.These endorsements are critical to demonstrating Californians’ support for the bill. A sample letter of support for AB 361 can be downloaded HERE!
I did not know how the saga of looking out of my 5th floor window watching the homeless people in the alley would play out. At first, it was just to see who came and went and how their little community grew. Then, I realized that it’s amazing how attached one becomes to the people. I worried about them being in the cold at night, especially when it rained. I kept telling myself they would be fine.
One day, I noticed the police and a sanitation truck tearing down their encampment. I was outraged so I called my co-worker Alisa Orduña, who is part of the Home For Good team, and asked her to come and bear witness because I knew there was an injunction against this move. She emailed her connection and the harassment stopped for a while.
Outside our building, I have seen a lady in a wheelchair with her little black dog asking for handouts. They seem so attached to one another. I recently found out that she is part of the alley encampment outside my window. Wanting to know more about the situation, I again asked Alisa if she knew anyone that could help. She got me in touch with Caitlin DiMaina from Community Solutions and we scheduled to meet and take a walk through the alley. The week before we were to meet, the camp was torn down again by LAPD. On Monday, we took a walk through anyway, just to see if there was anyone that could give us info on the people and their whereabouts. We spoke to a gentleman that worked in one of the buildings but, he seemed reluctant to get too involved. As we walked, Caitlin shared that she was familiar with Nouella-the lady in the wheelchair. Finally, a name to a face!
I’m happy I got involved because I feel that everyone deserves to be acknowledged and to know that someone cares about them. Caitlin will be trying to help Nouella and her dog find permanent housing. I hope that everything works out for both of them and the others. It takes a village but, one person can make a difference!
Jackie Berryhill a Receptionist at United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
United Way’s Director of Education Policy and Programming, Ryan Smith
Today, we helped launch a bold new coalition of civil rights, parent, teacher, community-based and education organizations that is already garnering attention in the media. In its first action, the new group, called Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS), surveyed more than 100 community groups to find out their priorities for improving L.A.’s schools. Click here to see the results.
The Los Angeles Times reported here on CLASS beginning with this sentence: “A coalition of groups, including the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has launched an effort to put education at the center of the mayoral race and civic attention.”
The article quoted our own Ryan Smith, director of education policy and programming, who made the case for supporting – rather than obstructing – the school district’s efforts to improve low-performing schools: “We have a long way to go to in ensuring there is equity and access for all students, but there are some signs we’re headed in the right direction…”
LA School Report, the most widely read blog devoted solely to education in Los Angeles, reported on CLASS as well. Ryan was quoted heretoo: “These organizations, for decades, have been working very hard to increase equitable access to education,” said Smith. “We all value the same thing. It makes sense to come together to have an even larger presence.”