Who best helps the homeless?
October 25, 2008 9:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I help Southern California's homeless?

I don't have the time or inclination to volunteer directly, but I want to contribute to those involved in getting homeless people back on their feet. Does anybody have a favorite program that gives people down on their luck options for finding things like work and affordable housing?
posted by evil holiday magic to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Steve Lopez wrote about a great series of articles about a homeless man who found housing and rehabilitation support at The Lamp in downtown L.A.

Yes, this story is being turned into a film. No, I'm not going to link to it.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:23 PM on October 25, 2008

I have corresponded extensively with folks at Beyond Shelter, which is the premiere housing first for families program in the country. They helped tremendously with consultation and guidance during the start up phase of a similar pilot program I worked for in Philadelphia and I can't possibly recommend them highly enough.
posted by The Straightener at 11:09 PM on October 25, 2008

Don't write off programs that meet immediate needs (food, shelter) for the destitute. Check out the LA Catholic Worker and its big "hippie kitchen" in skid row. It's rooted in nonviolence, social justice, intentional poverty, Christian anarchism, and personalism - which is to say, these folks do a damn fine job serving for and with the poor. They'll gladly take donations, for sure, and you won't find many groups that stretch their pennies so far. I don't have experience with this particular Catholic Worker community, but most communities reach out to regular donors and invite them to simple dinners and stuff - again, personalism is a big component here.

Programs that help people get "back on their feet" are great and needed, and I totally support you seeking those guys out. I think the Catholic Worker movement is fascinating and thought you might be interested also. Good luck, and thank you for being a brother to your community!
posted by Sfving at 11:43 PM on October 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

I used to volunteer at Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica. They run a number of programs to help people get back on their feet, including transitional housing for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, low-cost mental health services, and a 24-hour domestic violence hotline. You can donate to the OPCC in general or to a specific project. They also have a wish list of items they need.
posted by kiripin at 12:03 AM on October 26, 2008

Saint Joseph's Center in Santa Monica is a great charity. I have volunteered at it on many occasions. It teaches homeless people a new skill set so as to integrate them in to the work-force when possible.
posted by skewedoracle at 12:17 AM on October 26, 2008

i live near skid row in los angeles, and two larger organizations that i have a lot of respect for are the midnight mission and chrysalis.

the catholic workers don't have a great reputation with some of my friends who live in the skid row area.
posted by jimw at 6:37 PM on October 26, 2008

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