In The Seat of Homelessness

In The Seat of Homelessness

In The Seat of Homelessness

by LaTaneisha Wilkes

The makeshift closet runs across the roof of a compact car masked by curtains. A handful of newly washed clothes hangs on the rod that is used to dry off a weeks worth of outfits, while the rest of what used to be is an entire wardrobe compressed inside a car trunk. This has now become the fort for living on the streets.

For some individuals a car is all they can depend on and have to rely on to get through to the next day. Living in a car has so many limitations due to an enclosed amount of space that makes it hard to navigate or move around as opposed to living in a home. Sometimes we’re faced with atrocities that only human nature can understand. In the pit of despair who is there to help in the time of our deepest darkest struggles. Often times, life can be pretty unpredictable with no resources to be accounted for or obtained. Having an entire family live in a car can be extremely difficult due to lack of room and accessibility to assets. Struggles are created from lack of proper shelter, food and common amenities that we use on a daily to make it through day-to-day routines. Living in a car generates fear for safety, law limitations and restricted mobility to handle what is necessary in providing any way to live comfortably.

“Never judge people who have little to nothing, as one day you may find yourself having NOTHING at all”

Family Car Living

“The longevity of homelessness continues to rise, so people are running out of resources. The unemployment runs out. Their savings run out. The family that lent them money does not have it anymore ‘cause they’re looking at economic hardship. And before you know it they find themselves living in their car because they ran out of all options” (Hard Times Generation: Families Living in Cars)”. A car wasn’t built or designed to live in but to get from one destination to another. However, when challenged with life and its hardships we have to do what is best for ourselves as well as our family. The real question is how can these problems be prevented or escaped from? There should never be an individual, let alone a family living in a car under no circumstance. Even though, you may be entitled to free will and some may be comfortable, but it is not ideal or acceptable. How do you have proper hygiene or a cooked meal? Surviving in the world is a challenge itself. Take a moment, would you want your loved one or someone you care for living with minimal necessities just to get by. If the answer is no, why would you be comfortable and seeing someone else suffer. Society must collectively ensure the safety of everyone and protect all to the best of their ability. A lending help or a simple gesture of kindness to those who are a part of their community can make a difference in the lives of many who have fallen.

Related Video: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/81163869/more-than-1000-sleep-in-cars-to-highlight-homelessness-in-auckland?playlistVideoId=5495165391001

News, C. (2012, June 04). Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hard-times-generation-families-living-in-cars-04-06-2012/3/

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If America is Home of the BRAVE, why are so many of the BRAVE HOMELESS?

VETERANS: WAR ON HOMELESSNESS | Written By: lovinglatie

veteran

(vet·er·anˈvedərən,ˈvetrən)

~ A person who has had long experience in a particular field. A person who has served in the military.

How is it possible for a veteran man or woman, who served our country who fought for our freedom end up on the streets?

“On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind” –Dan Lipniski

We only know what we were taught or practiced. So, how is it possible that our veterans who serve, honor and protect our country for the lives of so many are homeless? Men and women risked their lives to defend those who wouldn’t do the same in return if faced with

the same principles. Granted it was meant for them to execute their duties however, for what purpose if it serves no benefit to them.

Due to mental and physical illnesses Veterans find themselves at a dead end because they cannot successfully sustain housing without support. It’s almost a lose lose no matter which direction they look.

Th

ere is an urgency for more programs to be structured that are directed to our Veterans. We send them to war with unlimited resources and high volumes of training, however when they return they’re quickly abandoned.

“Homeless veterans need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing and nut

ritional meals; essential physical health care, substance abuse aftercare and mental health counseling; and personal development and empowerment. Veterans also need job assessment, training and placement assistance. NCHV strongly believes that all programs to assist homeless veterans must focus on helping veterans reach the point where they can obtain and sustain gainful employment. If not, clients will be unable to find and maintain safe, decent, permanent housing” (NCHV.org).

We need to come together and fight for the Veterans who fought for us and return the favor and fight for them.

Veterans that that have provided military service, programs have been established to help better serve them in addition, to preventing homelessness for our vets. “Homeless veterans can receive assistance both from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provided they have an eligible discharge status, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), regardless of discharge status” (Endhomelessness.org).

Ending veteran homelessness is very possible provided the programs created are used effectively and efficiently to offer the most assistance available.

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LaTaneisha Wilkes

LaTaneisha Wilkes

Get to know LaTaneisha, she enjoys making an impact for her community

LaTaneisha Wilkes works at the Victor Valley Family Resource Center, as the Editor in Chief. Currently, she resides in Hesperia, California where she was born and raised. She attended Sultana High School and went off to college at the University of California, Riverside to receive her Bachelors in Media and Cultural Studies in 2013 as well as a Master’s Degree in 2015 in Public Relations from Cal Baptist University.

 “it gives me a purpose and has value to those individuals in obtaining happiness through stability.”

community-impact-lataneisha-wilkes-working

Her passion is driven by hard-work, dedication, commitment and having the capabilities to improve the lives of others by illustrating a healthy environment that they can seek security provided with our resources. She enjoys being able to help those in need with compassion for making a difference in the life of someone else’s. She says “it gives me a purpose and has value to those individuals in obtaining happiness through stability.”

At Victor Valley Family Resource Center, it is our obligation to offer quality customer service. Furthermore at Victor Valley Family Resource Center, we strive to make a difference in the lives of many by providing them with resources and assistance. We value the time and effort put forth by our staff in ensuring those who are in need are accommodated. She has come in hot handling a handful of tasks in the media and customer service department. You can learn pretty quickly that the company lives on the mission, “To eradicate homelessness through housing, education, Socio-Economic and mental health Services” (VVFRC.org).

The services provided by Victor Valley Family Resource Center consists of transitional housing, educational programs, transportation and safety. We value those we aid by supplying alternative options that are strategic in accomplishing their goals. She is inspired by he work because she believes that writing articles for VVFRC makes it possible for those to be heard, informed and engaged while gaining useful resources for them to apply to themselves or share with others. In addition, with our services as a non-profit organization, we advocate community involvement to participate or make donations for our program. We help thousands yearly find resources and we want to continue developing the expansion as well as growth of Victor Valley Family Resource Center.

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N.I.M.B.Y. (NOT IN MY BACK YARD)

N.I.M.B.Y. (NOT IN MY BACK YARD)

N.I.M.B.Y. (NOT IN MY BACK YARD)

| Article by Lovely Late

Do you want to be stripped away from the only place you call home? In any given moment, NIMBY can be knocking at your back door and ready to settle in the back yard of your residence.

I would imagine the answer be, NO. With such a case sensitive matter poses a threat to those who have to leave immediately or in a limited short time from the only place they can call home sparks an uproar.
So, why would it be okay for officials, governments, communities or other parties to do it to others without giving those outlets to seek elsewhere?
When we hear the phrase or term “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard), our initial thought is whatever affair being occurred will not happen in the back yard of the place in which we are living.
NIMBY is a term for a person who battles unwanted development, such as prisons, power companies, manufacturing plants, or chemical companies in his or her own community or town.

““YOU CAN’T BE HERE!” … “YOU’VE GOTTA LEAVE!”

In some manners, NIMBY can pose as a threat or inconvenience to those who live in close proximity of the new development.
Generally speaking, people have the right to protest in regards to their beliefs in addition to the new projects proposed that can cause distress in terms of their privacy.

However, how are matters handled when NIMBY affects the place of living for the less fortunate or homeless. Well according to recent studies, earlier this year there were a dozen of homeless individuals living alongside a mile-long river bed in the Santa Ana River.
According to the article, ‘Homeless Now Have Several Days to Move from Riverbank Per ACLU Settlement’ states, “The settlement agreement, which went into effect yesterday, extends the deadline to Thursday for people to leave an encampment on the eastern banks of the river, next to the 57 freeway from Orangewood Avenue near Angel Stadium to just south of the 22 freeway.
With limited time and resources homeless people have to evacuate their place of living due to the complexities raised by the cities precautions.
“It was pronounced just as a major rain and windstorm that moved into the county, which lacked enough shelter space to house most of its homeless population.
Signs were posted warning people that February 23, 2017 would be the “final date” for people to remove their belongings and move out. After that day, possessions would be seized and, “those who stay could be prosecuted for trespassing, the signs warn” (VoiceofOC.org).
“The ACLU SoCal continues to monitor the situation, reaching out to impacted people and informing them of their rights under the settlement agreement, and remains committed to working with the county to ensure that homeless residents are treated fairly and given the resources and housing they need to succeed.” (VoiceofOC.org).In some manners, NIMBY can pose as a threat or inconvenience to those who live in close proximity of the new development.
Generally speaking, people have the right to protest in regards to their beliefs in addition to the new projects proposed that can cause distress in terms of their privacy.

However, how are matters handled when NIMBY affects the place of living for the less fortunate or homeless. Well according to recent studies, earlier this year there were a dozen of homeless individuals living alongside a mile-long river bed in the Santa Ana River.
According to the article, ‘Homeless Now Have Several Days to Move from Riverbank Per ACLU Settlement’ states, “The settlement agreement, which went into effect yesterday, extends the deadline to Thursday for people to leave an encampment on the eastern banks of the river, next to the 57 freeway from Orangewood Avenue near Angel Stadium to just south of the 22 freeway.
With limited time and resources homeless people have to evacuate their place of living due to the complexities raised by the cities precautions.
“It was pronounced just as a major rain and windstorm that moved into the county, which lacked enough shelter space to house most of its homeless population.
Signs were posted warning people that February 23, 2017 would be the “final date” for people to remove their belongings and move out. After that day, possessions would be seized and, “those who stay could be prosecuted for trespassing, the signs warn” (VoiceofOC.org).
“The ACLU SoCal continues to monitor the situation, reaching out to impacted people and informing them of their rights under the settlement agreement, and remains committed to working with the county to ensure that homeless residents are treated fairly and given the resources and housing they need to succeed.” (VoiceofOC.org).

Langer, R. New Methods of Drug Delivery. Science 1990, 249, 1527-1533.
R. Langer, “New Methods of Drug Delivery,” Science, vol. 249, pp. 1527-1533, SEP 28, 1990.

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Rapid Re-Housing for Youth: Lessons from the Learning Community

rapid-re-housing-for-youth-lessons-from-the-learning-community

Rapid Re-Housing for Youth: Lessons from the Learning Community | Written by Mindy Mitchell

Rapid Re-Housing for Youth: Lessons from the Learning Community… over the last year, there has been a dramatic expansion in the number of rapid re-housing (RRH) programs designed to serve youth. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded over $15 million to RRH providers focusing on implementing the intervention for youth. And already in 2017, HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) has awarded funding to 10 communities to build systems intended to end youth homelessness, supporting a wide range of housing programs including RRH.

In 2016, the Alliance conducted regular online meeting of providers, system leaders, and technical assistance specialists from around the country in an effort to better understand best practices for using RRH to end youth homelessness. This Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Learning Community provided an opportunity for peer learning and served as an outlet for the Alliance to gather more knowledge about best practices from experienced youth RRH providers and to understand challenges that communities face when implementing youth RRH. All six of the Learning Community’s online meetings are available for viewing.

*Before moving forward, let’s define youth in the RRH context! We are referring to young people who are 18 and older. Minor youth under 18 require different interventions for several reasons, not the least of which is their inability to sign a lease in most states.

What we learned from the RRH for Youth Learning Community:

1. RRH can totally work for youth!

Some concerns that we often hear about RRH for youth are that we don’t have evidence that the intervention works for this population or that it is not “developmentally appropriate.”

But we actually do have evidence that youth RRH works: There are programs all around the country that have been doing it for a while now and getting great results! For example, the experienced youth RRH providers who participated in the Learning Community all reported that on average around 90% of youth served in RRH did not experience a return to homelessness within a year. And there’s no reason to think that homeless youth in the communities that have successful youth RRH programs are somehow more developmentally capable of independent living than homeless youth in places that haven’t been doing RRH.

Ultimately, regardless of what the four walls look like, services and support are what are most effective in helping young people overcome homelessness. Great services and support help young people stabilize their situations, problem solve, connect to both caring people and resources in the community, and develop the skills they need to achieve the goals that are important to them. And as we learned from the great youth RRH providers who presented on their programs during the Learning Community, it’s absolutely possible to do all of that in the context of RRH!

2. RRH for youth is hard! (And fun! And maddening! And rewarding! And hard!)

RRH is a Housing First intervention that allows people experiencing homelessness to direct their partnerships with housing programs from a place of strength and autonomy rather than from a place in which all the power resides with the program. Young people deserve that kind of partnership as much as anyone else experiencing a housing crisis. Following the Housing First philosophy in the youth context is definitely a new experience for many of us, and making a change to that approach, like making any change, can be difficult.
But all of the great RRH for youth providers we’ve gotten to know through the Learning Community have told us repeatedly that embracing Housing First has been key to making their RRH programs work. They also all agree that shifting organizational philosophies was hard, especially for front line staff. Ultimately, though, they found it rewarding and even inspiring to approach their work with youth from a place that puts the burden for engagement on them as providers—to make services engaging for youth—rather than on young people to prove they want to engage. As one of the experienced providers who was part of our Practice Knowledge Project put it, “If you make it engaging, they will engage!”

3. Hold the hope.

Another point that experienced youth RRH providers made repeatedly was that just believing young people can succeed in RRH makes a big difference. One provider shared an inspiring insight in response to the concern of another Learning Community member that putting youth in their own housing with RRH was just “setting them up to fail.”

We just can’t go into the work that we do from a belief like that because so often the people we serve have been through so many struggles that they may not have any hope left that their lives can be different. It’s up to us to “hold that hope.”

That hope, that belief that young people can succeed in RRH as long as we support them and provide them with the services and connections they need, seems to be vital in ensuring youth success in the model. And it’s that hope and belief that makes RRH such an exciting and innovative approach to youth homelessness!

4. RRH for youth is different. (But maybe not as much as we think…)

We learned a lot over the course of the Learning Community about the practical nuts and bolts of implementing RRH for youth. Yes, youth are different from older adults experiencing homelessness, but we should keep in mind that in some ways they’re not that different. Many of the lessons we’ve learned from implementing RRH for other populations also apply in the youth context, such as:

  • The importance of landlord engagement (and having a housing specialist if you can)
  • Client-led and -directed case management and the need to tailor services to the individual; and
  • The importance of connecting clients to mainstream resources to ensure stability after RRH assistance ends, especially education, childcare, and employment supports.

There are, however, specific tweaks for youth in RRH that we’ve learned about within each core component:

  • First-time tenants. When thinking about the first core component of RRH, Housing Identification, it may be important to educate landlords about youth development or work to address other potential housing barriers such as a lack of employment history or bad credit history. Young people may also need more up-front support in learning about being a good tenant and about rental agreements and leases.
  • Length of financial assistance. Youth are, on average, probably going to need financial assistance longer than older adults who are further along in their employment journeys. When considering the second core component of RRH, Rent and Move-In Assistance, be aware that the assistance may also need to be more flexible since a young person’s employment income may be more sporadic, especially when they first move into their own housing.
  • Intensified support. The third core component, RRH Case Management, may need to be more intense for youth than it usually is for other populations, especially in the beginning. That makes sense because youth may have never lived on their own and may need a lot more support as they learn how to navigate that independence. Case management in youth RRH also needs to be super flexible, meeting young people where they are (literally and figuratively) and seeing mistakes as learning opportunities for both youth and staff rather than as reasons to exit youth from programs.

 


Through the Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Learning Community, the Alliance has learned a lot more about the hard work and dedication of providers who have demonstrated how youth can succeed with RRH. RRH is a great Housing First intervention for young people. It builds on the strengths of both youth and providers to spur innovation and create positive outcomes. And there is already a great wealth of practice knowledge in the field that can be harnessed to scale up the intervention, getting young people experiencing homelessness off the streets and into their own housing in the community, wrapping youth-led services around them, making supportive connections for them to resources and champions, and creating flow through our homelessness systems so that we’re able to serve even more youth.

And to continue to build upon the momentum and enthusiasm for this innovative systemic response to youth homelessness, we’re gearing up to create a second RRH for Youth Learning Community! If you’re interested in participating and have ideas for what the Learning Community could be for both providers and systems administrators, let us know. Contact Mindy or Jen!

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Mr. Hoover Spotlight

Mr. Hoover Spotlight

Mr. Hoover walked into Victor Valley Family Resource Center’s corporate office in October of 2015 desperately seeking housing assistance. At the time VVFRC was not accepting new clients into the transitional housing program. Mr. Hoover outlined his living conditions at the time with our Project Manger, Eddie Clifton.

At the time Mr. Hoover was homeless and living out of his car. After working with our CEO, Sharon Green, Mr. Hoover was accepted as self-pay client to keep him off the streets. Mr. Hoover was eventually enrolled in the probation sponsored, transitional housing program. Immediately upon being accepted into the transitional housing program, Mr. Hoover aggressively sought employment. Mr. Hoover had multiple interviews and job offers from local employers within 30 days of entering the program. Mr. Hoover initially accepted a commissioned sales job with Envision Security selling security systems.

Mr. Hoover worked at Envision Security for approximately a month before accepting a new position at Horizon Solar Power as a Marketing Manager. Mr. Hoover started working for Horizon Solar Power in November of 2015 at an hourly rate of $12.50. After 30 days he received a performance based raise to $14.50 an hour. Last week Mr. Hoover applied for a Regional Sales Director position with Horizon Solar Power. Mr. Hoover has directly assisted in the hiring of 3 Victor Valley Family Resource Centers transitional housing clients over the last 4 months. Since entering the program Mr. Hoover has demonstrated strong budgeting skills. He has consistently saved 70% of his monthly income, while paying down debt and positioning himself to transition into permanent housing. Mr. Hoover has been a model client in every way. Motivating fellow clients to seek employment, set goals, and follow their case plans. Mr. Hoover is driven by his goal of reuniting with his fiancé and daughter.

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