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Monthly Newsletter

The full scoop on our people, programs & progress!
Volume 3 Issue 4             
April 2013
In This Issue
Faces of VCH
Wish List
TLC for Homeless Families
YouthBuild on the Road
Transportation Assistance
Mark Your Calendar
Mission Statement

The mission of Venice Community Housing is to preserve the economic, racial and social diversity of Venice and the surrounding area by maximizing affordable housing and economic development opportunities and providing needed social services to the area's low-income population.  
Fast Fact

A 2011 report by the National Center on Family Homelessness reveals the devastating impact homelessness has on families: 


Homeless parents - most often single mothers - experience guilt, fear and hopelessness about their situation.  


Mothers experiencing homelessness are three times as likely to suffer from PTSD and twice as likely to be drug and alcohol dependent compared to mothers in stable housing.


Homeless children experience dramatically higher rates of chronic and acute health problems and are four times as likely to show delayed academic development compared to their housed peers, placing them at greater risk of becoming homeless themselves as adults


Homelessness also increases the likelihood that families will separate or dissolve, with children entering the foster care system or sent to live with relatives.

Faces of Venice  
Community Housing  
Priscilla Smith

I began as Controller at Venice Community Housing about eight and half years ago. I oversee all of VCH's accounting, billing, payroll and budgeting for new and existing programs.

I worked at one other nonprofit prior to VCH, but before that I had always worked in the corporate world. With nonprofit accounting,  I discovered that I got up in the morning and loved going to work!

Even though I don't work directly with clients, I enjoy knowing that my work contributes to the impact VCH has on people's lives. It gives me such joy knowing that we're housing people who really need it and offering disadvantaged young people the chance to explore a whole new world of possibilities through our youth programs. 
Wish List     

From linens to laptops, Venice Community Housing is always seeking donations for our residents and programs. Please visit our online wish list to see if you can meet any of our current needs!
Quick Links


Dear Friends, 

Every year the second Sunday in May is Mother's Day, a day when we officially celebrate the women whose maternal bonds have influenced our lives.

In the spirit of Mother's Day, Venice Community Housing is launching a month-long fundraising campaign for its Westminster Transitional Living Center.

As you'll read in this month's "Fast Fact," homelessness has a devastating effect on families. Since 1993 Westminster TLC has provided a stable, nurturing environment for women and their children to escape homelessness and change the trajectory of their lives.

Your contribution to this campaign allows TLC to provide supportive services that formerly homeless families need to secure affordable housing and achieve long-term stability.

For a $20 donation VCH will send a beautiful card designed by students from our Study Lounge program to someone you'd like to honor on Mother's Day: a mom, a grandmother, a sister, a friend!

Additional cards are available for $10 each.  

Front of card:
 Inside of card:
You can donate to the campaign online or by contacting Development Manager Anne Dobson: (310) 573-8406. 
TLC helps families break the cycle of poverty 

Motherhood has both its joys and its challenges, but imagine being a mother without a place for you and your children to call home. Where will you sleep tonight? Where will your next meal come from? What will happen to your children if you get sick?

Whether living on the streets, in their vehicles, or in temporary shelters, the women that VCH serves at its Westminster Transitional Living Center (Westminster TLC) have had to focus on their family's daily survival, and have missed out on many of the joys of motherhood. Their children have often experienced years of transience, and without a stable home many are academically delayed and suffer from chronic health conditions.
2010 Thanksgiving at TLC 
Homeless families need housing first and foremost as a means of stabilization, but they also face multiple barriers to long-term self sufficiency. Domestic violence, lack of education, unstable work history, and multi-generational poverty are just a few of the barriers women and their children must overcome as they seek to transform their lives.   
The Westminster TLC site is a Craftsman-style house located in a residential section of Venice. Mothers share a bedroom with their children and share a kitchen, bathroom and living room with one or two other families. The site is within walking distance of supermarkets, public parks, schools, and several local bus routes. 

Westminster TLC provides homeless women and their children not only with a nurturing home environment  but also with supportive services that help them transition into permanent housing and achieve long-term personal and economic stability. Over 150 families have called TLC home since the facility opened in 1993.  


 Upon entering the TLC program, each mother develops a personalized case plan with a case manager that outlines short term goals - such as securing childcare or earning a job training certificate - as well as long-term goals focusing on procuring housing and developing a career path. Mothers are required to spend a minimum of 25 hours per week at work, in school or in a job training program and to attend two mandatory workshops a week that focus on parenting, conflict resolution, employment searches, and more. They also develop a budget and savings program to plan for their future, contributing 30% of their monthly income in to rent and depositing 10% or more of their monthly income into a personal savings account.

A mother's journey to housing

Maria* experienced homelessness for almost ten years before coming to the Transitional Living Center. Her two children had spent the majority of their lives living in her car or in emergency shelters.  


During Maria's stay in the TLC program she was able to complete her Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice and added nine months of work experience to her resume through a subsidized employment program that subsequently led to her being hired temporarily for several months.  


Maria plans to continue to pursue her Bachelor's Degree and hopes to work in law enforcement. In 2012 she was awarded Section 8 rental assistance and moved with her family into their first home in many years. Her children now thrive in school and enjoy participating in a number of extracurricular activities.   


Support Westminster TLC by contributing to our Mother's Day campaign today! 

Venice YouthBuild students travel to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento 
April 17th - Venice YouthBuild students met with California Assemblymember Steven Bradford in Sacramento during California YouthBuild Coalition's Government Education Days 

This spring students from our Venice YouthBuild program have been honing leadership, civic engagement and networking skills at their state and nation's capitols.

In March, Venice YouthBuild students Carmen Cotton and Daniel Johnson boarded an airplane for the first time in their lives to attend YouthBuild U.S.A's National Conference of Young Leaders in Washington, D.C.

Daniel (left) and Carmen (right) pose for a cell phone picture during their D.C. trip
"D.C. was great because it gave me the opportunity to meet people from a lot of YouthBuild programs across the country," Daniel said.

Carmen agreed. "There was an awareness that even though we were from different states, we were from the same background, the same struggle," she said.

Carmen ran for and won a seat on YouthBuild USA's Young Leaders Council, a three-year commitment. She joins Venice YouthBuild graduate, Steven Love, who is  in the second year of his term on the Young Leaders Council.

Daniel was particularly inspired by a public speaking workshop he attended at the conference.

"It gave me a whole new outlook on public speaking and set me up to write my speech for Government Education Days," he said.

It must have been some speech - Daniel ran for and was elected by his peers to serve on the California YouthBuild Coalition Youth Congress at Government Education Days, an annual civic leadership conference hosted by the California YouthBuild Coalition in Sacramento.

Venice YouthBuild students participate in civic engagement activities during Government Education Days in Sacramento 
This year's Government Education Days took place on April 16th and 17th and was attended by over 200 students from 26 YouthBuild programs across the state, including 14 participants from Venice YouthBuild.
In addition to attending workshops and discussion forums focused on civic engagement, Venice YouthBuild students met with legislators at the California State Capitol Building to discuss the importance of YouthBuild programs in their communities and the positive impact YouthBuild has had on their lives.   

"Being in the State's capitol brought out the best in our youth," said Venice YouthBuild Director Omar Muhammad.


"Several participants discovered similarities between themselves and their legislators and have now decided that they have a new option in life -  to be a public civic leader."    


VCH thanks Assemblymember Steven Bradford and Assemblymember Isadore Hall for taking the time to talk candidly with our youth about their voting power and civic duty!


Resident Services transportation assistance program aids Venice resident on road to success

For one Venice resident, a bus token recently became the key to securing employment.

In late February, Jack* signed up for transportation assistance through our Resident Services Department so he could travel to job interviews. Six weeks later, those trips paid off when Jack secured full time employment as a plumber's assistant.

"Jack is someone with whom we probably would not have had contact in the past," said Director of Programs Timothy Sweeney.  

In November 2012 Resident Services joined the community-based organizations that participate in L.A. Metro's Rider Relief Transportation Program, providing fare subsidy coupons and Metro tokens to eligible riders who might otherwise struggle to get to school, work and other appointments.

VCH has since provided 25 people with ongoing transportation assistance.

"It's a little bit of help, but it has made all the difference," Sweeney said.
Mark Your Calendar!
ArtTasting Multimedia Art Salon 
Sunday April 21st
5 - 10 p.m.

D'Cache Restaurant
10717 Riverside Drive
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

Free and open to the public, this multimedia salon will feature artwork by children in a Free Arts Weekly Mentor program, works for purchase by community artists, live DJs, and cocktails at a cash bar.

Event proceeds benefit Free Arts for Abused Children and Venice Community Housing.

2nd Annual Venice YouthBuild Art Show 
Friday May 31st
6 - 9 p.m.

The Focus Studio
4 Rose Avenue, Venice

Venice YouthBuild students are pleased to present their second annual art exhibition and fundraiser. 

Last year the art show raised over $2,500 for Venice YouthBuild. Proceeds from this year's event  will support students' senior trip prior to their June 28th graduation ceremony.

Jazz at Palms Court 
Sunday September 15th
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
743 Palms Blvd., Venice

Join us for our 21st annual jazz brunch fundraiser!

Ticketing information to come this summer.

For individual and corporate sponsorship opportunities contact Development Director Myrna Pappas:
(310) 573-8407.
Until next month, 

*Names have been changed to protect our clients' privacy 
Venice Community Housing
720 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
P: (310) 399-4100
F: (310) 399-1130