CBO wants to help
By Caleb Pugh | OW Reporter
The housing crisis in California is at an all-time high, and many resources and attention have been brought to it by Mayor Karen Bass as she declared a state of emergency to figure out solutions for the homeless. But one situation that is not receiving enough support involves those who struggle to maintain their housing.
Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) is one community-based organization helping families achieve some level of comfort while figuring out their living situation.
MEND’S programs and services help meet the immediate crisis needs of people — developing connections, skills, and resources to address and overcome long-term challenges that have kept them from thriving.
“In the past year, we have been able to help over 500 hundred clients with housing resources like food, utilities, rent, and toiletries,” Carolina Vega, System Navigator said. “We have helped in many different areas like reducing the cost of food through CalFresh, reducing a lot of utility prices through discount programs, and helping families by lessening the burdens they carry when making household decisions.”
MEND helps address its client’s different needs by recommending them to programs like its Community Nourishment Programs (CNP), which feed hundreds of thousands of food-insecure people yearly through a food pantry; a food bank; the Buen Provecho farmers market; and the Little Health Market, which offers food options for people with chronic health conditions.
Here We Thrive consolidates MEND’s burgeoning intensive case-management services. With the goal of individual and community resiliency in mind, the group is combining the former Family Support Program and Pathways to Wellness and adding a new employment component to better serve the community.
Here We Thrive is staffed with professionals willing and able to support participants through uncovering and overcoming their (in many cases, long-term) challenges.
But, while MEND offers these helpful services, they still run into the problem of getting people to come to them before they hit rock bottom.
“There are many clients that have come to us after they lost housing, and in those cases, we immediately provide them shelter to keep them off of the street,” Vega said.
Vega also mentioned the effect the housing crisis has on kids.
“Talking with clients, they have told me it’s easier for the kids because the parents keep them occupied with other activities while they fill out the paperwork. So when we have clients with kids, we try and do the same thing by providing the kid with a space to play and do activities to keep them busy,” Vega said.
“No matter what phase of the crisis, we always have a team willing to help families. We understand not everybody has the time and energy to put into the community, but we do. So please never hesitate to ask us or any nonprofit because you will never be turned away.” Vega added.
Contact MEND by calling (818) 897-2443. To donate or volunteer, visit https://tinyurl.com/3y5n9ka9 for more information.
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