WIN- Great Resource for Homeless Youth Forum Attendees!

OCLA’s founder, Denise McCain-Tharnstrom sets up OCLA/WIN’s table at the HYFLA Youth Summit, June 2019. 

On Saturday June 22d, OCLA’s founder and President attended the First Annual Homeless Youth Forum of Los Angeles. Sponsored by the LA Homeless Services Authority, the summit’s goal was to discuss both challenges within the homeless youth system and the barriers faced by the homeless youth as they seek the support to leave homelessness behind.

The event opened with a Resource Fair where invited providers who offered important support for homeless youth hosted tables where they introduced attendees to important services.  OCLA was asked to introduce attendees to the WIN app as well as the recently released 2019 Directory of Services for Homeless Youth, Families and Adults. The Resource Fair was open from 9am-1pm and the OCLA table was busy- offering flyers, posters, cards and more to introduce attendees to WIN.

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Helping Your Homeless Neighbors in the Summer

For the homeless, summer is not filled with lazy beach days, vacations and BQQ’s – the warm weather brings with it a unique set of threats:

  1. Dehydration – According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, “Persons who live on the streets or in shelters are at increased risk for dehydration in warmer climates, particularly during summer months.” Without the proper amount of fluids, a person’s body is thrown into dehydration. Many homeless people are on medication and/or drink alcohol, exposing them to an even higher risk of dehydration. Dehydration can become severe, including delirium, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
  2. Exposure-Related Illnesses – Without relief from the heat, homeless neighbors may suffer sunburn, cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  3. Hygiene Dangers – The inability to use clean bathroom facilities and take showers is another threat to homeless people’s welfare. Sweating is a natural way for our bodies to maintain body temperature by cooling us down. However, sweating quickly becomes life-threatening for homeless men, women and children that only have one pair of clothes, under garments and socks. Clothes and socks soaked with sweat can lead to rashes, infections, and other health problems. Trench Foot is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to damp, cold, unsanitary conditions. If untreated, gangrene can set in.

While permanent housing is the solution to these threats, many local nonprofits offer care kits designed to support the many homeless  individuals and families who are on streets or sleeping in cars while waiting to top the long list for housing assistance.  Consider reaching out to your local dropin center or homeless assistance team and offering to donate supplies such as water bottles, sunscreen, clean socks, woven or cotton hats, lip balm, nonperishable food items. And don’t forget to ask for suggestions of other items they may need to put together hygiene or care packages for the homeless families or individuals living in your area.

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Introducing TEAM WIN

OCLA is proud to introduce the members of our Social Media team- TEAM WIN! Since early 2019, Daryll “Relly” Brown and Perla Espinoza have been learning how to use social media and other outreach tools to raise community awareness about the WIN app. Under the guidance of marketing and social media consultant, Tony Rodriguez, Relly and Perla have been posting to Twitter and Facebook, speaking at public presentations about the WIN app alongside OCLA/WIN founder Denise McCain-Tharnstrom, and distributing flyers on streets and colleges campuses to raise awareness about the usefulness of WIN.

Relly and Perla came to OCLA from Safe Place for Youth, a local dropin center for homeless youth based in Venice and have lived experience of  homelessness and daily struggles for resources. Neither Relly nor Perla were familiar with Twitter and rarely if ever used Facebook prior to beginning their internships with OCLA. Follow Relly and Perla on Twitter at #WINApp and #TeamWIN, check out their Facebook posts and look for them to launch OCLA’s Instagram page in early Fall!

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Homeless At The ‘University of Spoiled Children’

The housing crisis is alive and well, even at an elite institution like the University of Southern California.

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Struggling to Stay Afloat in California

Over 1 in 3 (37%) households in California struggle to meet basic living costs, and 6 in 10 Young Children Live in Struggling Households. The rate of working households living with incomes below the Real Cost Measure is increasing, even while the economy is claimed to be growing and official unemployment low.  Read the United Ways of California 2019 Real Cost of Living in California Report and call for your community, business, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to work towards solutions to help struggling families move up.

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