“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned,” wrote poet Laureate Maya Angelou. In 2019, the homelessness crisis reached a record high of almost 60,000 in Los Angeles County. The COVID-19 Homelessness Crisis made even worse, these words carry extra urgency. An average of 150 people a day fell into homelessness last year. As a result, no part of our county is immune to this issue.
What can we do to help? Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, CEO and President of LA Family Housing passionately states, “We can all be engaged and have an impact in pushing back those forces and changing somebody’s life.” Meanwhile, some programming might be disrupted due to the pandemic, but assistance is still needed. Certainly, if you’re willing to donate or volunteer time, any amount will help. Here are four organizations working hard to fight the covid-19 homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.
A Sense of Home
Almost 30 percent of those currently struggling with homelessness are former foster youth. A Sense of Home strives to give each of them a warm environment to live in and instill a sense of hope and care. ASOH utilizes donated home goods and furniture provided through a notable list of partners.
How can you help? Individuals can donate, work in the stored goods warehouse or participate within teams (families, businesses, school groups) to transform spaces. In other words, each transformation costs around $6,000. It takes two hours to install and requires 12 to 24 people. Moreover, if you’re into interior design, in 2018, designer Kelly Wearstler started the “Designer Challenge,” calling on industry colleagues to sponsor homes.
Since its founding in 1984, Chrysalis continues to help more than 66,000 low-income and homeless individuals out of poverty. They strive to assist them in finding jobs and a pathway to self-sufficiency. With a plan in place to double its client job outcomes by 2021, Chrysalis continues to provide resources for job placement and employment. For example, they offer preparation classes, resume writing, interview skills, professional attire, hygiene items, computer and telephone access and more.
How can you help? Chrysalis volunteers must be over the age of 18 and committed to ongoing mentor-type roles. Specifically in tasks such as resume assistance, job readiness and practice interviews. Chrysalis also accepts donations. A $50 donation provides one individual with a week of job readiness preparation.
Covenant House California
Beginning in 1988, Covenant House California was composed of a team of volunteers. They provided homeless youth and young adults with food, clothing and support. In 1996, the doors of the 36,000 square foot Los Angeles facility opened. Today, homelessness and the covid-19 homelessness crisis, the organization provides homeless youth with immediate needs: a meal, medical attention, a shower, clean clothing and a place to sleep. In other words, the shelter provides 60 beds, a cafeteria, recreational space and a medical clinic, as well as a transitional housing unit that sleeps 24.
How can you help? Volunteers gather donation items, provide tutoring and offer activity workshops for kids. CHC even offers an eye-opening and team-building fundraiser called Sleep Out. Volunteers spend an evening with kids at the facility, and then sleep out on the street in their place.
LA Family Housing
Over the past 35 years, LA Family Housing has become one of the largest organizations in the city. Annually, they help find housing and provide services for more than 11,000 people. LAFH is the only organization to help families stay together as they transition out of homelessness. Additionally, LAFH offers short- and long-term affordable housing in its 27 owned properties.
How can you help? LAFH’s volunteer program offers many ways to contribute. This includes serving meals, gardening, volunteering with children or participating in one of their many annual events.