The City of Whittier is actively engaged in a range of coordinated efforts and active collaboration among community organizations, churches, service clubs and concerned citizens dedicated to overcoming homelessness.
There are over 35 organizations within the Whittier area that provide services for homeless individuals and families. Whittier was among 44 communities identified in 2012 in the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national initiative to end chronic and vulnerable homelessness by moving at least 2.5 percent of the community's medically vulnerable and chronically homeless people into permanent housing each month.
Homelessness occurs for varied reasons and requires different resources and services. Serving the needs of this population is complex and some individuals do not want assistance or housing. The aim is to provide a system that coordinates and focuses resources to those most in need and least able to advocate for themselves. Combating homelessness requires effective strategies to reduce the number of families and individuals who become homeless, in addition to helping currently homeless families and individuals move into permanent housing.
The core of this effort involves outreach through designated staff, City policies, and direct financial support to local nonprofits like Whittier Area First Day Coalition (First Day), The Whole Child, the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter (WCCS) and the Salvation Army Transitional Living Center. The City also works with neighboring cities, Los Angeles County, Gateway Council of Government (Gateway COG) Initiative to Reduce Homelessness, People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), the State of California, and the federal government to stem homelessness.
The City directly addresses homelessness in the following ways:
- Mental Health Evaluation Team
- Regional Cooperation
- Information and referral office
- Library resources
- Social Services funding
In February 2017, the County hosted a homeless initiative conference, at which Mayor Vinatieri spoke on the positive benefits of the MET team and the cooperation among Whittier nonprofits serving homeless people.
The conference addressed:
- Connection and collaboration: coordination of hospital entry/discharge systems
- Housing placement/stabilization: assist homeless with rental units
- Justice population: Sheriff training on mental health; inmates resources
- Outreach and engagement: 211; outreach worker training; data uses
- Communication mobilization: technology use to disseminate information
- Affordable/homeless housing: No Place Like Home initiative; L.A.County Measure H
- Mental health, substance use: MET teams; integration of federal, state, local funds
- Collaboration with cities: libraries as venues for DMH evaluations
- Use of COG, PATH and County workers as resources
- Expanding providers’ capacity to maximize new opportunities
- Contracting: barriers between funding agencies; accelerating funding
The Central Library also provides a full list of homeless resources to visitors. In addition there is veteran resource center staffed by volunteers, most of whom are also veterans, to assist with medical, housing, benefits, and other resources. Whittier was one of seven California libraries to receive a state grant for the “Library Outreach to Veterans” initiative so materials are provided without charge to veterans.
The City’s Information and Referral office at the Uptown Senior Center employs a worker 28 hours a week assisting individuals with social services information including government benefits and emergency shelters. City staff is familiar with the homeless services provided locally and regionally and will refer individuals to the appropriate organization providing the services sought. Staff liaises with nonprofit service providers on a regular basis to assist residents with their needs. The City is also considering the effectiveness and budget implications of including referral links from the website and Channel 3 to homeless service providers.
The City annually grants funding to social service and non profit agencies as recommended by the Social Services Commission with many services including:
- Crisis, transitional and bridge housing
- Permanent supportive housing
- Housing navigation
- Rapid rehousing services
- Veterans housing services
- Homeless recovery services
- Food security
- Prevention of homelessness
- Outreach to homeless
- Employment services
- Dental care
- Recuperative care
- Health and hygiene services
- Mental health, crisis care, evaluation, support services
- Detox services
- In-patient and out-patient counseling services
- Family services
For further information, please view the Local, Regional and National links provided in the left column.
You may also contact the Social Services Information and Referral office at 562-567-9476.