Faith and Hope Church Partners with 211 LA County to Aid Homeless
Homelessness may be rising in South Los Angeles, but Faith and Hope Community Church is battling to decrease it with the assistance of 211 LA County, a local non-profit agency.
211, popularly known as a 24/7 resource for social services, recently partnered with Faith and Hope’s Pastor LaVelle Gates to provide care coordination for five homeless families and three individual adults in his church and four senior citizens in the community.
The relationship expanded to using his facility as an entry point for people seeking other support with situations such as unemployment, mental illness, or substance abuse. As an entry point, Faith and Hope provides staff that receive clients on weekdays and Sundays who record the names, phone numbers and living conditions of the client. That information is forwarded to 211 care coordinators who assess the client for needs and connects them with resources. 211 also follows-up to make sure the client connected with the service provider, provides advocacy when needed, and empowers clients by informing and educating them on how to successfully access services.
“Our church is located on Florence Avenue on the corner adjacent to the 110 freeway. We are in an area where we can’t ignore the crises and concerns of our community. There are homeless not only living under the freeway, but on our very porch – right next door to the freeway,” said Gates.
“211 is a partner in helping us find resources for them and my congregation. They helped my members find resources for low-income, unemployment or situations where they also had special needs in several areas. Also, 211 found agencies to help them with recovery or mental health.”
The care coordination component was a pilot effort, according to Maribel Marin, 211 LA executive director. Instead of applying the traditional case management approach to service delivery, she said her staff collaborates with “case managers that specialize in particular areas of service such as housing, mental illness, etc., all working as a team to support families that struggle to make their way through bureaucratic labyrinths or get lost in the red tape that is required to go from one system of service to another.”
Patricia Herrera, 211 program director, explained that the homelessness piece was added to 211’s care coordination service as the agency screened children for developmental delays and autism. “We found families, especially in Pastor Gates’ community, who were experiencing homelessness. If we didn’t tackle the homelessness, we couldn’t get very far in supporting the child,” she said.
“Having the support of the church being the entry point has been tremendous. The system has a lot of cracks and families struggling with multiple issues will fall through those cracks pretty quickly. Because of the partnership with Pastor Gates and his church, we’ve been more successful in closing those gaps since we are able to follow a family from the beginning of identifying the need all the way to receiving services,” added Herrera.
Continuing their partnership, Faith and Hope will join with 211 to host a Community Day event on Saturday, April 29, at his church located at 344 West Florence Avenue in Los Angeles. The resource fair will offer information about social services, health screenings and refreshments.
To learn more, visit 211 LA’s new website, 211la.org, now featuring the ability to search and save resources and events.