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WIN adds MORE!

November 7, 2016
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by Carla Buck, OCLA WIN Operations and Development

more_screenshot_2016-06-04-12-13-19WIN has added a 12th category of free programs available to vulnerable youth- the MORE category! Located at the bottom right of the WIN dashboard, MORE enables youth to locate programs offering free showers, haircuts, laundry, wifi, classes and MORE! Like all WIN listings, these services are available to youth without a referral.

Why did we add MORE? When we launched WIN in November 2015, it offered 11 searchable categories of essential supportive resources available in LA County to vulnerable and/or homeless youth. In focus groups held in spring of 2016 at homeless youth drop-in centers, we learned youth also wanted the ability to search for other personal basic needs as well as classes and free wifi locations. We realized we needed another category…so we moved the Feedback icon off the dashboard (you can still find it in the Menu Section though!) and created the MORE category. We are still building the MORE database—please help us if you know of services or programs we should add here!

In addition to adding the MORE category, WIN has other new features and resources. For example, we have added Directions, a MapView of search results, broken out the Santa Clarita region on the map and added the ability to share search results via text messaging and Facebook Messenger.

DIRECTIONS – The fall 2015 WIN offered users who were connected to the internet, the ability to view a program location on a map. The latest version has added directions– showing users how they can travel (by driving, transit, biking or walking) from their current location to the agency they wish to visit.

MAP VIEW – Youth now have not 1 but 2 ways to view lists of resources. When we launched, a resource search returned of a list of programs ordered by distance from the user. Now the youth can also select a map view showing where programs listed are located.

SANTA CLARITA REGION –Santa Clarita residents pointed out to us that the San Fernando Valley is so big that it would be helpful to youth and other users if the region were broken down to make it easier to search for services. With their help, we separated Santa Clarita from San Fernando Valley on our map and search capabilities.

YOUTH ONLY SEARCH – The WIN search results list has always marked Youth-Only Service Providers with a Y icon. But because youth under 25 are often not comfortable around the older chronically homeless population, youth asked us to make it even easier to find youth-only providers. We now have a Youth Only search filter which allows an user to limit the search results to programs that serve youth ages 25 and younger.

SHARING INFORMATION – WIN has always allowed a user to email her search results to others. This allowed youth to share search information with other youth and enabled case managers to send information to the youth they served. But we soon learned that was not enough and recently added the ability to share search results via text messaging as well as through apps such as Facebook Messenger.

We welcome feedback and ideas on how we can improve WIN. Email us at [email protected] To download WIN or use our webversion on a computer, please visit our WIN page here. here.

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Funding for homeless services rides on who are the next L.A. County supervisors

November 4, 2016
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kpcc-homeless-and-bos-election-_nov-2016116848-fullSkid Row Tents - A tent stands on E Fifth Street at Towne Avenue in Skid Row on Thursday morning, Dec. 17, 2015 near where General Dogon used to live.; Credit: Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Take Two
Opponents to L.A. city ballot measure HHH say it only pays to build housing for the homeless – it doesn't provide the money for services, too. But there is a path on Tuesday's vote that could lead to cash for these programs. Two L.A. County supervisors are retiring – Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich – and who takes their seats might throw their support behind a separate ballot measure in the spring to increase sales taxes that fund services. KPCC reporter Rina Palta and Mary Plummer break it down.

Why can't the money from HHH be used for services?

Palta: Because it's only intended to build buildings – create the actual physical structures for people who are currently homeless to live in. It’s also a bond measure, which really means one-time funds, not an ongoing stream of revenue that the city has available to it in indefinitely. The argument is, we need something that will be a permanent source of cash to use for services.

What kind of services are we talking about here?

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WIN for iPhones!

March 7, 2016
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WIN (What I Need) is available in the iTune and GooglePlay stores! Designed for youth experiencing homelessness or resource insecurity, this FREE mobile app offers direct connections to Los Angeles area supportive services.  Download it here.

Learn more about WIN

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Not for the Faint of Heart’ – Combatting the Deepening Crisis of Homelessness

November 20, 2015
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20 Nov 2015, Written by Mark Ridley-Thomas NewsArticle_CityWatchphoto_Nov.20.15_094p
SPECIAL TO CITYWATCH-Sadly, the sight of people sleeping on the streets, begging strangers for money and scavenging for food in the trash has become all too common.

In Los Angeles County, an estimated 44,000 people are homeless on any given night, many of them families with children.

It’s a crisis that has been building for decades, driven by declining incomes and rising housing costs. As a result, a startling one in four Angelenos now lives in poverty.

Los Angeles County has half a million more very low-income households than available apartments so the typical monthly rent has skyrocketed 27 percent since 2000; however, the typical renter’s monthly income plunged 7 percent during the same period, partly due to the Great Recession.

These days, a typical household must earn about $80,000 a year to afford the $2,000 average monthly rent sought by landlords, and still be able to buy groceries, pay for utilities, and other expenses.

This means even preschool teachers, medical assistants, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and many others with full-time jobs cannot afford to live in Los Angeles County. The most vulnerable – those with mental or physical disabilities and drug or alcohol addiction, and who lack family support – are the hardest hit.

The problem is particularly acute in Los Angeles County’s 2nd District, which accounts for about one-third of the County’s homeless population, according to the 2015 Homeless Count.

As Supervisor of the 2nd District, I have a moral imperative and political responsibility to make the fight against homelessness a priority, while recognizing that the effort will require going upstream on a deeply entrenched problem.

We have a good idea of what works – a humane and holistic approach that is also fiscally sustainable in the long term, aimed not only at housing the homeless but preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Since the beginning of my tenure at the Board of Supervisors in 2008, I have pursued a three-pronged strategy:

1) Building strong and coordinated crisis response systems to get people back on their feet.

2) Creating affordable housing with, if necessary, supportive services such as mental health and substance abuse treatments, and even job training and placement, in partnership with community-based organizations.

3) Putting money in people’s pockets by raising wages and spurring economic development that creates jobs easily accessible through public transit.

The Board of Supervisors’ most recent initiative set aside $4 million for teams of social workers and health professionals to go out into the streets of Skid Row and connect homeless single adults to housing and supportive services.

Separately, the Board of Supervisors redirected $7 million from underperforming County programs for homeless families, plus $10 million in other funds, to support the innovative Family Solutions System. Over the past year, it has rapidly rehoused 1,000 families, only 6 percent of whom have fallen back into homelessness.

More than 1,900 new affordable housing units have been constructed over the past six years in the Second District alone.

In 2013, $1 million in 2nd District funds jumpstarted the County’s Flexible Housing Subsidy (CFHS), giving homeless patients a path to independent living after their discharge from County hospitals. The subsidy has been so successful that the County now invests $4 million a year to keep it going. So far, 1,000 units have been made available and another 1,500 units are expected to be available by next summer.

An important tool for the CFHS is temporary residential options like Recuperative Care beds to care for homeless patients after they leave hospital. About $1.8 million has been invested in renovating and operating 40 recuperative care beds in South Los Angeles. Another 100 beds will open at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus in December 2015.

We are also expanding Psychiatric Urgent Care Centers to reduce the pressure on Psychiatric Emergency Departments. We opened another such center at the MLK campus in 2014, and are renovating another in Culver City that will open in December 2015.

In addition, we are chipping away at income inequality and the disparity between wages and housing costs. The County’s Board of Supervisors has adopted policies to ensure County-funded construction jobs, such as those at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, go to local residents.

The Board has also adopted motions to ensure employees of County contractors, as well as homecare workers who look after our elderly and disabled, receive a just or living wage.

Given the magnitude of the homeless crisis, however, it is time to scale up.

The Board of Supervisors has approved an additional $51.1 million for homeless prevention and affordable housing programs, in addition to the $50 million previously allocated in the 2015-2016 County budget. It is critical that the County reflect its commitment by dedicating ongoing funds to address this crisis.

The County Chief Executive Officer recently launched a Homeless Initiative that, in partnership with the 88 cities that comprise the County, will look beyond traditional solutions and the usual funding sources to develop a comprehensive strategy. The Board of Supervisors is poised to consider these proposals immediately.

Indeed, we encourage all 88 cities to take part in the Homeless Initiative in any way possible. Cities have the authority, for example, to protect existing housing through stronger rent control enforcement and by clamping down on unscrupulous landlords and developers — both of which would aid in stabilizing rents and housing costs.

There are new tools at our disposal, including the Affordable Care Act, which will help connect more people to needed health and mental health services, and Los Angeles County’s new Office of Diversion and Reentry, which will provide low-level offenders with the support they need to avoid homelessness and become stable and productive members of society.

Combatting homelessness is not for the faint of heart. I know we cannot extinguish homelessness but significant progress can be made with real and thoughtful partnerships among the government, business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

It must be stressed, however, that our success will depend on our collective commitment to solving what is an undeniable and deepening crisis.
(Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas represents the 2nd District for the County of Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
CityWatch, Vol 13 Issue 94, Pub: Nov 20, 2015 To read more City Watch, click here.

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L.A. Mayor Garcetti rules out, for now, declaring homelessness an emergency

November 20, 2015
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Los Angeles Times, By Gale Holland, Alice Walton and Peter Jamison, November 18, 2015
NewsArticlefromLATIMES Photo_la-2444838-me-1117-homeless-006-ik-jpg-20151118
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday ruled out declaring an immediate state of emergency to address Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis, cutting off for now an avenue designed to bring swift relief to thousands of people as El Niño storms are expected to bear down on Southern California beginning in January.

An emergency declaration had been viewed as a novel — though far from assured — strategy for seeking more federal and state emergency funds and for gaining flexibility to deal with the city’s growing homelessness. Such declarations are generally reserved for natural disasters, but backers argued that with the threat of historic rainstorms, the idea merited consideration.

The City Council on Tuesday moved to lift some restrictions on sheltering homeless people — while officials continue to debate longer-term solutions.

The council’s actions could add beds to the city’s winter shelter program and open public buildings as new shelters, as well as authorize homeless people who live in cars and RVs to sleep in church parking lots.

But the council did not say where the money would come from, or how it would be spent, and it could be months before the city’s 26,000 homeless people feel the policies’ benefits… click to read more

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Cell Phone Drive

July 29, 2015
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Our Youth Need Working Phones!

Do you have an older working iphone or android cell phone and charger you can donate?

We would like to offer every homeless youth who needs one, a mobile phone pre-loaded with WIN- the What I Need App. With your donation you can make a difference!

WIN Phone Drive Flyer PDF

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WIN for Android!

July 29, 2015
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Can you use help finding the resources and services you need? Are you hungry? In need of educational or jobs training? Do you know a youth who needs supportive services but are not sure how to find them?
The WIN (What I Need App) for Android, designed for youth experiencing homelessness or resource insecurity, offers connections to regioal services. iWIN is available in the GooglePlay store today!
Download it here or search the store with keywords “WIN Youth’

Learn more about WIN

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