Greetings from Connie Brehm, ESGVCH President of Board of Directors
Homelessness and Rain in San Gabriel Valley
We’ve all heard El Nino is coming and it may be starting now! With a wet, rainy season ahead many are concerned about how the homeless will fare. Last night I visited our shelter and was asked to see a guest who was feeling ill (I’m an RN). I determined the guest was not sick enough to send to E.R., but I was concerned about him. I noticed his clothing (sweatshirt and jeans) were entire-ly soaked as he had been out in the rain all day. To support his health he re-ceived a warm meal and I walked with him to the shelter’s clothing room where he was given dry clothing. I advised to sleep early to fight off his illness. I will check on him again tonight when I will be at the shelter, and this time with oth-er nurses and medical supplies. Thursday night nurse clinics at shelter are sponsored by Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing.
As president of ESGVCH, I am always greatly encouraged when there is in-creased concern for people in our region who are without homes. El Nino car-ries the mixed blessing of raising public concern for the homeless. Here is what ESGVCH is doing to help in the rainy season: Our Winter Shelter Program op-erates nightly from Dec. 1st to Feb 29 with a bed capacity of 174 persons per night. Shelter guests receive a meal and a cot for the night. Shelter staff and security are on duty along with case managers who make connections for shel-ter guests to housing programs, social services and employment opportunities. The shelter program also provides showers along with hygiene products, cloth-ing and haircutting. Weekly mobile health and dental services are provided on site. A few of our host churches have allowed our guests to stay on site during the day to shelter them from rain. For our Winter Shelter schedule, locations, and bus stops refer to announcement in this newsletter. Note: ESGVCH con-tracts with a private bus company to transport anyone in need of shelter to our program from around San Gabriel Valley.
In addition to the Winter Shelter Program ESGVCH also provides direct aid through our Emergency Assistance Center located in Hacienda Heights. Please refer to the Emergency Assistance Center information in this newsletter.
You are invited to help us to help the homeless in the rain by donating to ESGVCH through our GIVING OPPORTUNITY PAGE or mailing a check to ESGVCH, P.O. Box 93256, City of Industry, CA 91715.
Volunteers Meeting will be Monday, Jan 25 at 6:30 pm at: ESGVCH Office (located behind St. John Vianney Catholic Church) St. Martin de Porres Center 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745 (626) 333-7204 Meeting Agenda is: Orientation and organizing, assign-ing of volunteers. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-333-7204
December 2015 Message
Winter Shelter & Families: A Need for Motel Vouchers! By Connie Brehm, PhD President of Board of East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless The Need for Shelter: With the ominous threat of El Nino (heavy rains) predicted, we sense anxiety among the homeless individuals and families we serve. They ask our staff many times when our Winter Shelter Program (WSP) will open. Answer: Dec. 1st and operate nightly through Feb. 29. At our nightly Winter Shelter Program homeless, individuals receive a warm meal, a cot for the night, access to showers. In the morning they are also provided a continental breakfast and a sack lunch for their afternoon meal. Other services provided to our guests include health care, dental care and haircuts.
Families and Motel Vouchers: While ESGVCH Winter Shelter Program operates on funding from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), along with church support, ESGVCH is concerned that this year we do not have adequate funding for motel vouchers for families who show up at our Winter Shelter. Since families are not permitted to stay in the shelter (LAHSA regulations), our staff provides each family with a motel voucher for several nights. However, this is contingent on having funds to pay for motel vouchers. Once in the motel a case manager gets in touch with the family to assist them with resources for housing.
Rising Numbers in San Gabriel Valley: There is a 17% increase in homeless numbers in SGV (by official count) since 2013, and a 15% increase county-wide. Family homelessness increased 19% since 2013. See LAHSA website: http://www.lahsa.org/homelesscount_spa
A Plea for Help for Homeless Families! My plea is for donations to pay for motel vouchers for the families who show up at ESGVCH Winter Shelter Program. Without a sufficient number of motel vouchers the families may be turned away from our shelter (in accord with LAHSA and County regulations). That means they are left to sleep in their cars or even outside.
We do not want to turn them away! Being stabilized in a motel, even for a few nights, gives a family an opportunity to receive case management services and find housing. One motel night for a family costs $65. Any amount you can donate helps!
Donate Today Or mail check to: ESGVCH, P.O. Box 92356, City of Industry, CA 91715. Cash or check may be delivered to ESGVCH at St. Martin De Porres Center located to the rear of St. John Vianney Church at 1345 Turnbull Canyon Rd., Hacienda Heights 91745.
November 2015 Message
As the winter season approaches, the board, staff, and volunteers of ESGVCH become busy with preparations for opening of our annual Winter Shelter Program. So much to do! For example, we must secure the space within local partner churches, we must hire the 24 hour shelter staff (about 16 people), then reserve portable showers and also contract with private bus company to transport our clients to the shelter from around San Gabriel Valley. Next we make sure cots, blankets and other supplies are in ready condition, and the list goes on! Yes, Winter Shelter time is a busy time, but also a blessed one. During the three months of nightly shelter operations, we see the most vulnerable people from local communities show up for a warm meal and a bed for the night. They have nowhere else to g0 and no one else to help them. Many who come to our shelter for their first time are surprised that such a place exists and that there are people standing by to welcome them with food and kindness in a non-judgmental manner. Those who come are all ages…youngest ones are newborn infants…oldest ones are in their 90s. They come from all walks of life. Some are homeless for the first time in their lives, having lost a job and then their home. Others have been homeless for years and live hard lives on the streets, but none are beyond hope or redemption. As ESGVCH personnel and church volunteers provide shelter services, many positive changes are seen in our guests. Some even get completely back on their after a short time in the shelter. Last season ESGVCH documented at least 35 people who re-entered permanent housing as a result of our Winter Shelter Services, which includes case management. ESGVCH also operates an Emergency Assistance Center (EAC) that is open daily (M-F) to provide year round services including food, showers, clothing, transportation assistance, and motel vouchers (motels provide emergency shelter for families!). Recently one visitor, a 53 year old woman, who lives in a tent in the mountains with her disabled son, got tears in her eyes as she expressed her thanks to the ESGVCH staff for “being there” for her and her son, “Where else could I get a shower and who would give me so much encouragement in my situation?” The work of helping the homeless is both humbling and rewarding. The Board and staff of ESGVCH are grateful for each and every one of our volunteers, donors and grantors! You make a difference!