The following is an excerpt from the January 2017 PPTFH Newsletter. To read the full January Newsletter, click here.
Outreach Success Story: A Thanksgiving to Celebrate
Last Thanksgiving, Yaya—who’s 23 years old—for the first time in her life had a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. She’s settled down now in a warm place: a Sober Living home that shelters women whose hellish earlier lives turned them into addicts. By then she’ll have an infant daughter whose father might come around to see them both. But Yaya has now taken charge of her present and future lives. Ahead of her, in steps, are getting permanent housing, finding a satisfying job, and having her boys with her again as a loving family.
How did Yaya’s transformation come about? It happened because in January the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness brought in two social workers from OPCC, Maureen Rivas and Glanda Sherman. Right away they went to Palisades places where homeless people hang out, to start making contacts. Gently and patiently, they learned people’s names and things about them. They’d ask what might help: a safe indoors place to stay, a meal, some clothing, medical treatment? Though the two women often got spurned, they always came back. They also knew that sometimes what a person most needed was someone to talk to. Both began hearing Yaya’s awful background stories. Admiring the sturdy character and intelligence that came through clearly in her words, they kept encouraging her to accept the kind of assistance that would help her start a new life. And Yaya finally did. “She is a remarkable young lady,” says Maureen, her case manager, who sees her often.
PPTFH’s outreach work among the homeless living in the Palisades, done mostly through Maureen and Glanda, has proven so successful that generous contributions by now have assured its continuation throughout 2017. Efforts will soon begin to guarantee its full funding during a third year in this trial period of a program already serving as a model for other communities, such as Malibu, where homeless people congregate in a rather similar geographic setting.