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live / 2018

Topanga Women's Circle: Expanding our Circle to Ease Homelessness in Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Topanga Women's Circle

Topanga Women's Circle will create a new city-wide program called The Community Circle Project which will guide existing service groups in helping homeless families as they transition into housing.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

TWC will create the Community Circle Project - Expanding our Circle to Ease Homelessness in L.A, a new city-wide partnership between public/private housing authorities & service groups to help the homeless as they transition into housing. We will initiate hands-on civic engagement by developing a training program based on our 15 years of experience.

Which of the live metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences
  • Rates of homelessness
  • Resilient communities

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Increase empathy and understanding of homeless populations

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to live?

The Community Circle Project (CCP) will make LA the best place to live through creating hands-on civic engagement that will lessen the burden of homeless families as they transition to life off the streets.

Los Angeles is America’s capital city for the homeless. Thousands of families with young and teenage children find themselves on the streets for a variety of reasons. Every family has a different story ranging from addiction to a fluctuating job market Partner all of that with an overpriced rental market that has little relation to the average earnings of many Angelenos and the combination of factors is a perfect storm for growing a large homeless population.

The Community Circle Project has two key components: (1) a strong, volunteer outreach program and (2) developing relationships with supportive local housing authorities.

By sharing 15 years of successful metrics from Topanga Women’s Circle (TWC) we will create a guide detailing aspects of our 100% volunteer organization. The guide will include storage, purchases, maintenance of a volunteer base, fundraising and strong communications with volunteers.

Helping other city service group transform bare-bones, bridge housing into comfortable, welcoming homes for the homeless, a sense of pride is established for both the volunteer and the homeless client, often carrying forward as the client moves into their permanent housing. By being a part of every aspect of creating a welcoming home for these families, the volunteer develops a better understanding of the challenges the homeless population faces and can feel confident that their time spent setting up a home is appreciated beyond measure.

We will cultivate a relationship with Los Angeles County’s supportive housing authorities and develop a comprehensive database of those groups in need of CCP’s services.

A CCP goal is to create an environment of love and comfort with a focus on dignity and self-worth and all items provided are new or like new. CCP volunteers not only provide these building blocks to comfort but also decorate each apartment in order to welcome all families with dignity and love. Everything purchased is a straight donation to the families as they move forward from bridge to permanent housing.

CCP will improve the lives of homeless Veterans, children and families in Los Angeles County by giving the tools necessary to area service groups to create a strong civic engagement program that will help LA be the best place to live.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to live

CCP’s goal is to engage service organizations in LA County in helping the homeless.This will be achieved through a training program and guide that includes micro-grants to jumpstart programs, a website and social media campaign to keep volunteers engaged and educating the surrounding communities.

  • Through creation of a training program and guide that explains every aspect of our work, including purchasing of items (comprehensive price guide and shopping list and suggestion of retailers to use), securing storage facilities and organization and inventory control, money management/finances (keep it simple!), the importance of 501(c)3 status, fundraising, special events, active communication with the volunteer base including keeping them informed of forward progress and problem areas, the importance of establishing an advisory board and a strong presence in your own community, even when it is not the area you serve.

  • Each organization committing to the CCP will be given a micro-grant to help them establish a storage facility and initial shelf-stocking.

  • We will develop a website that will host each service group’s project and give them individual opportunities to fundraise and develop their pathway to volunteerism.

  • We will develop a social media campaign including a film with images of volunteers at work and appreciative clients.

By sharing firsthand encounters and reports from the agencies we collaborate with, the full impact of the work is brought to the forefront.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

The Community Circle Project’s goal is to create a new city-wide partnership between public/private housing authorities and service groups to help the homeless as they transition into housing. We will define our success by:

  • The number of CCP chapters in each city of Los Angeles County;

  • The number of supportive housing authorities that have partnered with CCP; and

  • The number of homeless CCP has helped.

We will measure our success by the following:

  • Tracking success for our volunteers through various surveys;

  • Feedback from our housing partners through one-on-one discussions; and

  • Statistical analysis from the housing authorities on how many clients CCP has served.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

It is our hope that the Community Circle Project will have successfully engaged a multitude of different service groups in Los Angeles County who will play a vital role in helping the homeless as they transition into permanent housing.