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July 2017 Newsletter

You may have missed hearing about the results of the official annual homeless count in January.  The number of homeless in Los Angeles County increased by 20% and in Los Angeles City by 23%.  However, the homeless in Pacific Palisades decreased by over 50%.  We are confident that this decrease is not because the homeless are simply leaving the Palisades.  In the 17 months since PPTFH started, 44% of the homeless are off the streets!  Our goal is to find services and housing for our community’s homeless individuals, not just send them away.
Our next PPTFH community meeting July 17 will be on fire safety as summer continues.  The recent Topanga fire reminds us all how important this is.  Our community meeting in May, where we discussed the impact of PTSD on veterans and the homeless, was extremely enlightening.  Veterans in the Palisades represent about 11% of our homeless—lower than the national average.  And we have found housing for 25%.  Our hope for this year is that the other veterans we work with will be less service-resistant and will allow us to find housing for them. 
On June 1 the LAPD held its annual meeting with the community, with homelessness as the topic.  It allowed many of us to meet with Deputy Chief Dennis Kato, who is very supportive of the work PPTFH is doing and was instrumental in giving us two more officers for the summer to assist Officers Rusty Redican and Jimmy Soliman.  We also met with Sergeant Fox of LAPD’s HOPE Team and learned that its goals are similar to PPTFH’s.
Recently we met with members of Palisades clergy at their ministerial meeting.  At their request, we shared what PPTFH has accomplished and what they might ask their congregations to do in support of our work.  We look forward to sharing updates with each of the faiths.

Doug McCormick
President, PPTFH

Outreach Team Update

PPTFH uses monthly data provided by The People Concern to track our progress. Because of the timing of our newsletter, the most recent data available to share with the community are from the preceding month. Thus, the chart above reflects our May 2017 work achievements.
During May, our Outreach Team contacted 42 homeless individuals living in Pacific Palisades. Of these 42 individuals, 32 were continuing, repeat contacts from 2016, and 10 were new contacts made in 2017. 
“Engaged” individuals (levels 1&2) are the homeless people who regularly reside in the Palisades, impact our community the most, and are willing to work, at some level, with our Outreach Team. We have successfully engaged a total of 106 individuals since PPTFH launched The People Concern Outreach Team. Of these individuals, 30 are female, 76 male, and 12 veterans. We are often asked the percentage of male to female homeless persons in our community. As you can see by the chart numbers, there are about 2.5 males for every female.
We are pleased that from the total of 106 engaged individuals, 44% are now off the streets and into safe, supportive housing. This percentage increase brings us closer to achieving the goal of “50% off the streets by 12/2017” set by the PPTFH Board of Directors. Our ability to fully achieve the 50% goal by year’s end will depend upon how much our homeless population grows. Since January 2017, we have 16 new individuals in our community. We engaged just one new homeless person in May. The number of homeless individuals may rise over the summer months when the weather is warmer. We will have to see what the summer brings.
Sharon Browning
PPTFH Vice President and Chair, Outreach Oversight Committee

Moving In After Being on the Streets
Imagine yourself having to live on the streets for almost five years.  By then you might even have given up hope.  And then imagine having outreach workers like our Glanda and Maureen offer you help to become sober and find permanent supportive housing.  But the housing doesn’t include furniture or dishes.  It’s just empty rooms.

That’s better than being on the streets, but since you have no money, it can still feel cold and lonely. Now imagine that another kind stranger offers furniture for your empty rooms. Your place suddenly feels warmer and life more hopeful. A homeless woman we’ll call Anne recently benefited from such generosity, provided by Meridith Baer Home.

Meridith Baer Home is probably the premier company in the country at “staging”—furnishing high-end homes for sale.  You may be familiar with the process.  Heide Ziecker, Director of Design for Meridith Baer, grew up in the Palisades and became aware of PPTFH and what we’re doing.  Since Meridith is a huge supporter of efforts to combat homelessness, Heide asked if the company would be willing to help PPTFH  furnish some of the housing for our homeless people, using furniture in their warehouses.  Meridith said yes, and Anne was the first recipient a few weeks ago.

Anne’s is  the first of several  “move-in” projects where Meridith Baer Home will provide the furnishings for someone who has just moved off the streets.  Here is Anne’s story.

Anne became homeless in Texas in 2013 and came to Santa Monica hoping that a change in geography would help her better her life. Her two goals were to find housing and maintain her sobriety. Being homeless on the streets adds significant stress to living, especially for women. Anne eventually began to receive services from The People Concern as well as LA County’s Department of Mental Health. Receiving those supportive services gave her hope, but she was still on the streets.

Anne’s move into housing was a dream she waited for with courage and determination for almost five years. She lived in a shelter for some of those years, while her husband was living on the streets. So the news of housing meant that she and her husband could live together in the safety of their own apartment. Meredith Baer Home’s support made empty rooms a home. The furniture Heide set up for them  transformed their  apartment into a warm, inviting place to live.

Anne and her husband are “over the top delighted, and even proud” about the change.  Meredith Baer Home has helped lessen the worries in Anne’s life, and she now feels confident enough to schedule needed surgery that she had delayed. Recuperating in her newly furnished apartment will be a part of their recovery in ways they never imagined.

Thank you, Meridith Baer Home and Heide Ziecker!

Doug McCormick
President, PPTFH
Help Us Reach Our Goal!
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Treasurer’s Report
Thanks to the community’s continuing and generous support, PPTFH is now within 10% (about $50,000) of its goal of raising $500,000 for its three-year project.  This means we have the necessary funds to pay for the outreach team for three years and that the focus is now on raising money for move-in costs (first and last month’s rent, for example). These funds are essential for actually getting people into permanent housing when they are ready.  
Since they started in January 2016, the outreach team has been very successful in helping people get off the streets and into housing.  Fully 44% of the homeless individuals engaged by the team are now sheltered off the streets, and 25% of the engaged individuals are in permanent housing.  The remaining funds to be raised will be critical to ensuring that we can continue to move people from temporary to permanent housing with supportive services.
David Morena
Treasurer, PPTFH

Fundraising Update:
Thanks to Judy Hatchett

Judy Hatchett, a resident of the Alphabet streets, has lived in Pacific Palisades since 1956.  A retired RN, who worked at St. John’s Hospital for 49 years, she has a long history of compassion and service.  She volunteers in bereavement ministry at Corpus Christi church, reads to children at the library, and coordinates the annual flu clinic at the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club.  Judy is also a donor to PPTFH. 
Judy says that she has limited funds to spend on philanthropic giving, so through the years she has been careful to direct her donations to charities whose mission she supports, who mirror her values, serve the needs of the community, and are successful in their mission.  She says that PPTFH fulfills all her criteria.   
Judy has seen many changes in the Palisades during the 61 years she has lived here.  The most dramatic is the number of people living on the streets and on the beach where she enjoys walking.  She says something obviously needs to be done to alleviate the crisis, and she appreciates the results PPTFH is achieving.  Judy regularly attends PPTFH community meetings and has a working knowledge of what PPTFH is all about.  She frequently educates people, especially other seniors, on the accomplishments of the Task Force. When they comment on the number of homeless people still on the street, she reminds them about the ones they no longer see who now receive services and have housing. 
Judy says that although she can only donate small amounts to PPTFH, she feels her support in educating others about the Task Force is just as valuable.  She advises other community members to get involved and says that no donation is too small.
PPTFH is grateful for people like Judy who are committed to helping the homeless individuals in our community and for making donations in any amount. 
Barbara Overland
Chair, Fundraising Committee
To prevent fires arising from homeless encampments, such as the November 2015 fire that threatened nearby homes, the PPTFH Enforcement Team is working on a strategy to clean up abandoned encampments in the Via Bluffs area that is City Park property.  Team members Tom Creed and Scott Beal, along with LAPD Beach Patrol officers Rusty Redican and Jimmy Soliman, scout the area weekly, looking for new activity from our homeless population.
On May 20, a group of volunteers from PPTFH and Lou Kamer from PaliWorks worked under the supervision of Captain Albert Torres of LA Recreation and Parks to clean up abandoned encampments. LAPD officers Redican and Soliman also helped. Two full truckloads of trash were loaded and dumped after just one day of cleanup. This endeavor was a real eye-opener for all involved.  In one encampment we found flat-screen TVs, bikes, stoves, batteries, and the usual multiple layers of trash. Tom Creed is developing ideas on how to involve community and city agencies in the effort to clean up and restore this area to its natural state.  Time is of the essence, since the area is exploding in growth from recent rains and is a virtual tinderbox. Anyone interested in volunteering to help clean up the Via Bluffs area, please contact tom.creed@gmail.com.
The PPTFH Enforcement Team has found one individual living in the Corona del Mar Bluffs. We have engaged with him, and he is working with our Outreach Team. He will be leaving the hillside at the end of June.
Thanks go to volunteers from PaliWorks, PPTFH, and the LAPD Beach Patrol for monitoring the bluffs for homeless encampments, keeping us safe, and helping those who need services.  LA Recreation and Parks is planning a brush clearance effort in this area in late June-early July.  Please report any homeless activity in our brushy park areas to sharon.kilbride@yahoo.com.
Sharon Kilbride
Chair, Enforcement Committee
The Yogurt Shoppe's May fundraiser donated part of their profits to PPTFH.  Many thanks to the Yogurt Shoppe!!
Copyright © PPTFH, All rights reserved.
President: Doug McCormick; Vice-President: Sharon Browning; Treasurer/Secretary: David Morena

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Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness · PO Box 331 · Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 · USA

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