(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) — NEWS: Melina fled her home to escape domestic violence to protect herself and her children. They had nowhere to go so they turned to The Whole Child.
“I left not one but two abusive homes, first to get away from a violent spouse then a threatening situation while staying with a family member; and my children and I found ourselves homeless,” explained Melina, The Whole Child Family Housing client. “Things felt hopeless.”
The Whole Child’s Safe Families Interim Housing Program located in Echo Park marks the nonprofit organization’s entry into the field of housing development and will provide 44 units/102 new beds into Los Angeles County’s Coordinate Entry System (CES) for Families experiencing homelessness.
Families will receive an array of interdisciplinary services designed to provide a strong start on their journey back to permanent housing, including the agencies own mental health, parent enrichment and nutrition education services. The welcoming grounds provides a safe place for children and their families to heal and find stability needed to be successful long term.
“Today we celebrate a win for Los Angeles County,” pronounces Supervisor Hilda Solis at the Safe Families grand opening. “It is our priority to make sure that children are kept safe from the harshness of sleeping in cars and motels,” she continued.
The Whole Child welcomed their first families into residence at the Safe Families Interim Housing Program the first week in September.
“Eighty percent of children experiencing homelessness will become homeless adults,” explains Constanza Pachon, CEO of The Whole Child. “This facility will reduce trauma in children experiencing homelessness and will help break the cycle of generational homelessness in Los Angeles,” Pachon added.
Over 8,000 children under eighteen are currently experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. More interim and affordable housing are needed to combat this epidemic.
“To the families staying at Safe Families ‘Welcome home’,” announces City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, “and to The Whole Child, thank you for providing a safe place of love and light for families experiencing homelessness.”
Last year The Whole Child served nearly 2,000 families experiencing, or at risk of homelessness through Prevention and Rapid Resolution, Crisis Placement, Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing, as well financial acumen, employment and many other supportive services. With the help of The Whole Child, lead agency for the family population in the CES for the Southeast region of Los Angeles County, the number of families experiencing homelessness decreased by 42.6%* from 2018 to 2019 in the region they lead.
“I am working full-time now and have been living in an apartment with my two boys for two years now,” shares Melina. “I recently paid off my student loans, and I am debt free! I look forward to an exciting future watching my boys grow up in a peaceful house. Thank you to The Whole Child for being with me every step of this journey home,” she added.
The Whole Child would like to thank Supervisor Hilda Solis and the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA) for providing the funding to bring this program to life and ensure its success.
We thank the City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Gateways Hospital, and the community of Echo Park for the warm welcome. We were honored to have LA Channel 11 news anchor Christine Devine as our emcee at our grand opening celebration. To our staff who worked tirelessly to ensure the facility was ready and welcoming to our clients over the last two months, thank you for your hard work and dedication to ending homelessness in our community.
ABOUT THE WHOLE CHILD
The Whole Child is a 62-year-old non-profit organization providing mental health, family housing, parent enrichment and nutrition education services to some of the most vulnerable families in Los Angeles County. Our mission is to help families raise emotionally and physically healthy children and have a place to call home. To find out more, please visit us at http://www.thewholechild.org.
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