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The San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition is a coalition of housing, health and social service agencies that targets homeless individuals and families who reside in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. The Coalition meets for 2 ½ hours during the last Wednesday of each month. Coalition members include representatives of LA Family Housing, Northeast Valley Health Corporation, Valley Care Community Consortium, San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center, Inc., Chrysalis, People in Progress, Safe Haven for Veterans and Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc. Our Coalition has always provided a wonderful opportunity for these agencies to network or cross refer in a way that facilitates the types of wrap around services (e.g. housing, primary care, case management, mental health & substance abuse treatment, job training, etc.) that many of our homeless clients need. As a Coalition, we make sack lunches and prepare hot meals for residents of the nearby Sylmar Winter Shelter. In 2009 and 2011, we assisted the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority with the recruitment of volunteers for the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. During this year’s Count, we facilitated an Opt-In enumeration for the community of Canoga Park, recruiting 70 volunteers and covering 16 census tracts!

A couple years ago, the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition decided to expand its presence in the community by taking a more active role in placing homeless people into permanent supportive housing. After learning about the success of Project 50 inLos Angeles’ Skid Row, we knew that the 100k Homes Campaign could give us the opportunity to do just that. It wasn’t much longer after learning about Project 50, that the Coalition reached out to Community Solutions (Common Ground) to get some training as to how we could replicate this effort within our own service area. (Leslie Wise has been an amazing resource for us!) We knew we had the infrastructure in place to be successful. Yet, we also knew we had to be strategic and to stay committed. My Coalition Co-Chair John Horn (LA Family Housing) and I even attended the July 2010 100k Homes Campaign’s official “Kick Off” in Washington D.C. during the National Conference on Ending Homelessness.

Getting involved was easy! Shortly after the conference in DC, the San Fernando Valley Homeless Coalition was officially enrolled in the 100k Homes Campaign. After enrolling, we began to receive some additional technical assistance from Common Ground via conference calls and informative webinars on community advocacy and housing placement.  John and I also attended a Registry Week Boot Camp in Glendale,CA during the weekend of April 30, 2011 to get a better feel for training volunteers and to learn from past experiences. We hit the streets with Glendale’s volunteers the following Monday morning and had the opportunity to administer the Vulnerability Index!  Deciding on which area(s) to conduct a Registry Week was difficult for our Coalition given that the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys make up close to 1,000 square miles of geography! However, after giving this much thought and listening to some concerns expressed by the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council, our Coalition unanimously decided to have our Registry Week target homeless individuals living in the communities of North Hollywood and Sun Valley.

The San Fernando Valley 100K Homes Registry Week will take place during the week of August 29, 2011. We need 70 volunteers to canvas 16 “homeless hot spots” between North Hollywood and Sun Valley.  Volunteers can register here. Additional information is also available on Facebook. We hope you help us make a difference in our community!

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