Below is a letter from Christine Marge, Director of Home For Good, reflecting on the Unite For Veterans Summit on July 16, 2014, which brought together providers, partners, and supporters from across LA and the nation to rally around ending veteran unemployment and homelessness:
Home For Good Partners,
Three and a half years ago, our community came together around the Home For Good vision of making Los Angeles a place where no one is forgotten, no one worries about having a warm, safe place of their own to sleep each night.
At Wednesday’s Unite For Veterans Summit, our community’s tremendous progress was acknowledged by our First Lady, Michelle Obama. In her inspiring remarks, she acknowledged, “Here in LA, the United Way and Chamber of Commerce have brought public and private partners together for an incredible program called Home For Good – and together, you have housed more than 9,000 veterans since 2011.” (Watch her full speech by clicking here)
The best part of the day was seeing so many of you brimming with pride during and after that moment, knowing you played a part in this transformation.
As Laura Zeilinger, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, reminded us in her thoughtful opening remarks, “the cost of doing nothing is never nothing.” I appreciate that each of you is committed to doing something – whether it be outreaching to people on our streets, providing mental health care, volunteering to provide companionship, contributing resources to our Collaborative, advocating for policy change, working to streamline Coordinated Entry, or walking at HomeWalk, you’re a critical part of this movement we’ve built together.
We were thrilled to see Mayor Garcetti rising confidently to the challenge from our First Lady as he signed on to the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015, and expressed his commitment to partnering with us to reach Home For Good’s goals. He acknowledged the great power of L.A. in saying, “The greatest force multiplier we have in this town is 10 million souls that are committed to marching to that same point on the horizon, and to ending this battle and winning it for good.”
And yes, just as important as the tangible progress we’ve made together – housing over 14,000 people, including 9,000 veterans, harnessing over $360M in public and private funds for solutions, creating a coordinated entry system that’s a model for cities across the country – is the community we’ve built together, our persistence in reaching our goals, and the heart each of you brings to all we do. That’s what I felt most proud of this week.
So on behalf of the Home For Good team here at United Way and the Chamber and our Business Leaders Task Force, we thank you. We hope you, too, felt great pride as our collective efforts were lifted up on Wednesday. Special thanks to our co-sponsors at USC’s Price School of Public Policy and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, all of our inspiring speakers, and each of you, for doing the often thankless work you do each day. We see you, and we are so grateful for you.
In the words of Matthew Smith, the inspiring New Directions’ case manager who shared his journey with us on Wednesday, “I am proud beyond words that I now get to offer to other veterans every day the solution that was offered to me, and that is to COME HOME.”
We still have much work ahead of us, but I have no doubt that we will continue to lead the way for Los Angeles and for the nation by coming together to ensure we are all home for good.
Director, Home For Good
In Antelope Valley, community organizations are working collaboratively with law enforcement to train and support officers to effectively and compassionately respond to calls for mental health situations.
In 2013, an Antelope Valley Law Enforcement Mental Health Task Force was created to equip law enforcement personnel and first responders in managing mental health situations in the field. With Home For Good partner, Mental Health America, coordinating this diverse group of public agencies, law enforcement, first responders, and local service providers, they have made impressive headway in promoting peaceful interactions on the streets. Over its first year, the Task Force organized and executed trainings on a variety of issues including: recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness, effective communication skills with the mentally ill, self-care and stigma. Additionally, they were able to create a useful “Pocket Resource Guide for First Responders in the Antelope Valley” as a reference and referral guide for anyone in the area to utilize.
As a result of these efforts, the group reported that 306 sheriff’s deputies were trained on more empathetically responding to mental health-related calls. This new approach has already led to several deputies receiving positive accommodation for their effective management of mental health-related situations. In a recent week where three separate officer-involved incidents that could have easily ended “lethally” the situations were deescalated by first responders, saving the lives of several individuals, including a 17-year-old teenager in Palmdale. The Task Force will continue to work collaboratively across public and non-profit sectors to increase the number of successful interactions between first responders and those with mental illness for the betterment of all living in the Greater Antelope Valley Community.
Congratulations to the Antelope Valley Law Enforcement Mental Health Task Force!
Law Enforcement Mental Health Task Force Members: Mental Health America – Antelope Valley Enrichment Services, Lancaster and Palmdale Sheriff Stations, California Highway Patrol, cities of Lancaster and Palmdale Public Safety Offices, Edwards Air Force Base Security Forces, LA County Department of Mental Health, LA County Mental Health Commission, Penny Lane, Child and Family Guidance Center, Optimist Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness
Click to learn more about mental health and homelessness homelessness and mental illness.
As we come to the end of our campaign year, United Way of Greater Los Angeles would like to thank YOU for your generous support of our mission to break the cycle of poverty for our most vulnerable neighbors. As a leadership donor, you are at the forefront of ending poverty in our local communities.
Your gift is helping thousands of people find a pathway to a home, a graduation and a job. In fact this past year, you helped almost 7,000 people get into a permanent home, helped 25,000 students get into mentorship programs, and helped 1,100 honorable veterans find the jobs they deserve. Your continued support will ensure that united we can end poverty in Los Angeles. Thank you!
CLICK to watch the video below!
For the the first time ever, Budweiser Made in America Festival is coming to Los Angeles. The Budweiser Made in America is a music festival to benefit United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ work to end poverty.
Want to see Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Steve Aoki, Juanes and more at the hottest music festival this summer? Even better – want to go VIP? Recruit 5 friends by July 3, 2014 and you will be entered to win a PAIR OF 2-DAY VIP PASSES (access to the VIP lounge with food concessions, in-and-out privileges, private air-conditioned restroom facilities, etc. valued at $600 each ticket!)
Recruit 5 friends by July 3, 2014 and you will be entered to win a PAIR OF 2-DAY VIP PASSES (access to the VIP lounge with food concessions, in-and-out privileges, private air-conditioned restroom facilities, etc. valued at $600 each ticket!!!)
1) Sign-up to our BMIA mailing list: http://bmia.unitedwayla.org/
2) Share your personal link to the world on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Email – wherever you can!
3) Get at least 5 people to sign-up using your personal link by July 3rd.
4) Be entered to win VIP Tickets & be #UnitedForLA!
Once you’ve recruited 5 friends, you’re good to go. So what are you waiting for? This is going to be the event of the summer, and will likely sell out, so don’t miss out! The winner will be announced on America’s Birthday — July 4th.
WELCOME MARK LOUCHHEIM
United Way of Greater Los Angeles would like to recognize Mark Louchheim, President of Bobrick Washroom Equipment, who will begin his two-year term as Chair, Board of Directors on July 1st, 2014.
Mark Louchheim maintains a strong philanthropic agenda and has been a Tocqueville Society member for thirteen years and is President of Bobrick Washroom Equipment. Bobrick has been holding United Way campaigns for almost 70 years, with almost the entire employee giving going to CPOP, raising over $100,000 this year to help end poverty in Los Angeles. As the new Chair of the Board of Directors, his commitment to create pathways out of poverty for LA County’s most vulnerable neighbors is a top priority in addition to ensuring that United Way’s large network of donors becomes more connected to and engaged with the important community impact their gifts support.
Mark Louchheim serves as President of Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., a company dedicated to innovating and manufacturing washroom accessories, child accommodation products and toilet partitions used in commercial, institutional and industrial buildings worldwide. Previously, Louchheim was executive vice president and chief operating officer for the company, before being appointed president in 1993. He joined Bobrick in 1981 and began his career at Bobrick’s North Hollywood, California headquarters as a project manager.
Congratulations, Mr. Louchheim! Everyone at United Way looks forward to the next two years of fearless leadership to ensure people get homes, students graduate, and veterans have jobs they deserve!
On Friday, June 20th dozens of volunteers came to United Way headquarters to assemble Welcome Home Kits for formerly homeless Angelinos who have recently moved into permanent supportive housing.
Congratulations to Steve Cohen of Auto Club! He received the “United Way Community Hero” award at our Annual Philanthropy Awards this past Tuesday evening.
Steve is the Employee Support Supervisor at the Emergency Roadside Service Center in Burbank. He’s also the handsome man in the back of the photo! Thanks AAA for helping us create pathways out of poverty in Los Angeles!
On Tuesday, June 10th we hosted our Annual Philanthropy Awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Los Angeles. The event celebrated our top Community Heroes who are Creating Pathways Out of Poverty for the men, women & children of L.A. County. Congratulations to all of our nominees and winners.
Here’s a fact that might surprise you – there are more homeless veterans in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the nation. This is unacceptable.
At United Way of Greater Los Angeles, our Home For Good initiative aims to end veteran homelessness by 2016 by enabling permanent supportive housing and services for our service men and women who have fallen into homelessness. On June 3rd, each of us has the chance to take an important action by voting YES on Proposition 41.
Watch Marva’s story.
Proposition 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act, will reallocate $600 million in bonds previously authorized by voters, to fund affordable housing and permanent supportive housing for veterans, with a significant portion supporting housing veterans currently living on our streets. This means that for veterans like Marva, who honorably served in the Navy during the Gulf War and later became homeless here in LA, Prop 41 will help them move off the streets and into housing quicker.
It’s important to note this initiative will enable state officials to use existing bond authority for this effort, and is likely to save public money in the long run due to the cost savings associated with permanent housing. Bottom line: Prop 41 does not create new taxes!
United Way supports Proposition 41 because we see the potential impact that these housing resources will have to help end veteran homelessness in Los Angeles. When you vote YES on Proposition 41, you are helping to provide a roof over the head of a veteran like Marva.
California cannot afford to leave these vital housing resources on the table. Join me on June 3 in voting YES on Proposition 41!
Learn more about Proposition 41 at www.yesonprop41forvets.org.