St. Joseph Center empowers low-income and homeless adults, children, veterans and seniors to achieve self-sufficiency by providing food, childcare, housing assistance, job training, essential services and case management.
Why do we exist?
•Los Angeles has the largest homeless population in the entire United States.
•Even in such affluent areas as Santa Monica, there are neighborhoods in which 24% of the population lives in poverty.
•Poverty is the most reliable predictor of a child’s failure to achieve in school.
•California’s taxpayers are subsidizing people in low-wage jobs (who still have to rely on public services) at the rate of $10 billion per year.
•Homelessness and poverty affect us all.
Homelessness can come when a person loses their job, gets extremely ill, or suffers the loss of their spouse. And poverty is all too common among families in which the parents work several low-wage jobs. Being homeless or poor means having to choose between such necessities as rent and medicine, struggling to find a safe, warm place to sleep, and wondering where the next meal will come from--all situations that can lead to hopelessness and despair.
St. Joseph Center’s motto is “Planting Hope, Growing Lives.” The Center exists to help homeless and impoverished individuals achieve long-term self-sufficiency. Our services include emergency assistance, a hot meal program, grocery distribution, child care, case management, affordable housing assistance, job training, computer classes, mentoring and tutoring for youth, and money management services for veterans and adults who are recovering from mental illness and substance abuse. While most of our clients are local, from the communities of Venice, Mar Vista, Santa Monica and Culver City, some of our programs draw from throughout Los Angeles County. We’re unique because we have been around for almost 30 years; because in those 30 years we have consistently provided a focused response to the changing needs of the communities we serve; and because we don’t let people fall through the cracks. St. Joseph Center’s programs work together to provide a seamless web of services for people of all ages, and our program staff counsel clients--through a system known as case management--for as long as they need to achieve their goals, sometimes for upwards of five years
What have you accomplished?
St. Joseph Center helps approximately 6,000 men, women and children each year. Ninety-nine percent of those served have annual incomes of less than $20,000. St. Joseph Center’s clients are primarily Latino, Caucasian, and African-American with small percentages of Asian and Native Americans
Some of St. Joseph Center’s recent accomplishments include:
•2,234 people used case management to address personal and financial barriers to stability.
•340 people moved into temporary or permanent housing.
•213 people attended job training and life-skills classes.
•85 children ages 0-5 years received high-quality, subsidized, all-day childcare and pre-school.
•797 families received 15,168 bags of free groceries.
•96 kids ages 7-18 participated in after school youth programs including mentoring, tutoring and art classes.
•41 individuals were placed in jobs in the food-service industry after completing a 10-week training course.
•201 families worked with staff case managers to maintain their affordable housing.
•621 home visits were made to homebound seniors to more than 279 veterans and clients with serious mental illness.
•400 volunteers served 27,00 hot meals to 2,000 homeless patrons
•315 veterans and individuals impacted by mental illness chose St. Joseph Center as their representative payee to manage their disability benefits.
•2,350 homeless individuals accessed mental health, mail/phone, laundry, shower services and shelter referrals.
One client who exemplifies the benefits of both case management and St. Joseph Center’s interconnected programs is “Beth.” Beth fled with her daughter and two young sons from an abusive domestic situation in Las Vegas. When she first came to St. Joseph Center, Beth was living in the hallway of her sister’s home. At that time she signed up to receive supplemental groceries from the Food Pantry and enrolled in case management. After a short while, her situation worsened when her brother-in-law insisted she leave the house. Beth’s case manager consulted with colleagues at St. Joseph Center’s Homeless Service Center and was able to obtain motel vouchers for Beth which prevented her family from becoming homeless.
After working closely with Beth to find a more permanent living situation, her case manager facilitated an individual grant from SJC’s Hope Fund that covered Beth’s move-in costs at the residence they had together identified. The new room was partially furnished with items from St. Joseph Center’s Thrift Store. Beth’s youngest son enrolled at SJC’s Infant Toddler Development Center, which enabled her to take a part-time job and enroll in vocational and English language classes. Beth’s case manager worked with Venice Family Clinic to obtain eyeglasses for Beth and her children. The case manager also obtained a referral for Beth’s older daughter to Stuart House, an innovative treatment facility for children victims of abuse. With her St. Joseph Center case manager as a counselor, service facilitator, and general resource, Beth rebuilding a life for herself and her family, and achieving the stability that will is so crucial to attaining lasting self-sufficiency