The following is an excerpt from the January 2018 Pacific Palisades Taskforce on Homelessness Newsletter. To read this newsletter in full, please click here.
Keys to Finding a Home for Good:
Three Formerly Homeless People Share Their Experience
Last November, 41 Palisadians gathered in the library’s community room to meet Bobby, Janet, and Marina, formerly homeless in Pacific Palisades. As the three told their stories, Glanda and Maureen, our PPTFH outreach workers, sat smiling nearby.
Bobby, over 60, spoke first. He told us he had camped on the hillsides of Temescal Canyon for 14 years. A cancer survivor and retired, he now lives in an apartment in Huntington Park.
Janet, in her early 20’s, lived in a tent on the Via bluffs before her child was born. She and her daughter now share a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. Janet is the assistant manager of a deli at a Latin American grocery store.
Marina (mid-30’s) and her three children were found sleeping in their car on PCH by Rusty Redican, of our LAPD beach patrol. Marina’s family is now in a nice shelter in the Santa Monica area, and all four are in school.
Here’s what contributed to their success:
Key #1: Glanda and Maureen Meet Folks Where They Are
Bobby, Janet, and Marina had all applied to other service agencies. But they seldom met caseworkers, and months could go by without followup. In the past two years, our PPTFH outreach workers have spent 40 hours a week seeking homeless people all over the Palisades. They offer help and services to everyone they find.
Key #2: Ready Response
When a client telephones, either Glanda or Maureen answers, 24/7. When Marina phoned, she heard, “Yes, I was waiting for your call.” Glanda got mother and children into a hotel and then into the shelter. “When we say, ‘I’ll meet you here tomorrow,’ we are there,” says Maureen.
Key #3: Accountability and Expectations
Maureen and Glanda are committed to housing their clients. In turn, they spell out what each client needs to do. The outreach pros provide instructions and cheer them on, but clients must attend meetings, fill out paperwork, and do their research. Housing and jobs come from teamwork. At the November meeting, gratitude and pride were reflected on both sides.
Key #4: The Goal is Getting Indoors Permanently
On the street, Glanda and Maureen may offer sandwiches, but every lunch comes with a pitch: “You can do it. We’ll show you how. We’ll be there for you.” At regular meetups at the beach and the Palisades library, they offer, explain, and nudge. When move-in day comes, they are proud when they can personally drive clients to their new homes.
Key #5: A Community Network
PPTFH pays our outreach professionals, but to a great extent our success rate depends on an 11-member volunteer enforcement team. And everyone works with first responders in our police and fire departments. Carlos Rodriguez, manager of the Union 76 station at PCH and Sunset and a member of the enforcement team, said it is rare to find a community working together this way. With what we are learning, teamwork fighting homelessness can be a positive force in many communities.
PPTFH Communications Committee