St. Joseph Center Community News | July 2024

Hello!

St. Joseph Center has exciting news to share with you! We hope you had a fantastic Fourth of July weekend. In this newsletter, we are happy to share our tremendous progress in our programs and mission to help resolve homelessness in Los Angeles. Working with local elected officials and partners has decreased homelessness by nearly 20% in Westside LA, according to the LAHSA 2024 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. Learn more and read the report findings here.


It's the dedication of our frontline workers, community partnerships, and support from individuals like you that have empowered formerly homeless Angelenos like Crystal and her family in East LA and helped graduates from our CodeTalk and Animo program thrive on being self-sufficient community members. 


THANK YOU for making our work to help underserved Angelenos possible! 

St. Joseph Center Partners at New Affordable Housing Grand Opening in Boyle Heights

St. Joseph Center participated in the dedication ceremony and opening of La Veranda in East Los Angeles with Adobe Communities, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Authority (Metro), and Mayor Karen Bass. St. Joseph Center is proud to work with our permanent supportive housing partners to provide 76 more affordable homes. Learn more courtesy of LA Daily News.

Crystal Overcomes Homelessness and Faithfully Supports Family

Pictured above: Crystal enjoys her new apartment with her husband and daughter. Below are St. Joseph Center case managers Brittanie, Ruani, and Eliza at La Veranda affordable housing in Boyle Heights. They build trust with residents and help them meet their daily needs to thrive.

When Crystal connected with St. Joseph Center, she and her family had been homeless for three years, struggling to make ends meet, but had one goal: to be housed. Due to health problems, her husband was unable to work. As a working parent, Crystal dedicated her extra time to fulfilling the requests needed to move through multiple housing systems. Even though her family faced financial insecurity and a car accident, life setbacks didn't deter Crystal's faith. 


St. Joseph Center and our partners at LAHSA helped Crystal and her family come indoors at our Safe Landing for Families interim housing site in South LA. In March 2024, she obtained permanent housing at the new affordable La Veranda apartments for formerly homeless residents in Boyle Heights within one month. Today, Crystal's family enjoys the benefits of stable housing, a brand new car, and her husband's health is improving. When asked about her experience working with Crystal, Brittanie, a St. Joseph Center Crisis Family Housing program case manager, replied, "During our intake process, I told her I would walk beside you, at your pace. Her pace was swift–Crystal made sure she was document-ready and on it. She was very proactive in assisting herself. It was a team effort."


If you want to join us in supporting families like Crystal in their journey to overcome homelessness and become self-sufficient, please donate to St. Joseph Center.

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St. Joseph Center Hosts First Annual Animo Day

St. Joseph Center's Animo team and clients join at the first annual Animo Day in Venice, CA. The program, "Animo," is fueled by its meaning of encouragement, vitality, purpose, will, and spirit.

St. Joseph Center hosted its first annual Animo Day in June to educate staff about the mental health services offered to the Latino community by the Animo program. The festive cultural celebration included story sharing from clients, therapists, case managers, Zumba, and a maracas-decorating station. St. Joseph Center's Bread and Roses Food Catering team provided a traditional taco bar. View Photo Highlights


Studies show that 35% of Hispanic communities experience mental health barriers compared to the U.S. average of 46%. Disparities contributing to Latino access to mental health treatment include language barriers, poverty, limited access to healthcare, cultural incompetence, legal status, and stigmas. St. Joseph Center's Animo program addresses these barriers with individual therapy and non-traditional group activities to support community members' emotional and physical well-being in Westside LA. Jesse, an Animo mental health therapist, also works with clients in the LGBTQ community. When asked why Pride Month is important for Latinos, he says, "It's important to honor the LGBTQ community so they have a safe space to process not only generational traumas they go through as Latinos but also the things they go through on their journey as an LGBTQ person."


For more information about Animo, click here, or please call 310-396-6468 ext. 319 to schedule an appointment with a mental health specialist.

St. Joseph Center Hosts First Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Pictured Back to Front: St. Joseph Center CEO Dr. Ryan Smith with SHINE Muwasi Women's African Drum Circle; SHINE is a group of women from Southern California led by Rene Fisher-Mims to spread West African drum culture and wisdom, combined with healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

St. Joseph Center hosted its first annual Juneteenth celebration at the Hampton office in Venice, CA. The event honored unity, Black culture, and empowerment with a feast and traditional song and dance presented by the Women's African Drum Circle SHINE Muwasi. 

View Photo Highlights


Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is celebrated on June 19th each year to mark the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of slavery, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. On June 15th, 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the United States and became signed into law as the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. This act marked a significant moment in American history, recognizing the importance of Juneteenth in the fight for freedom and equality for all. 

St. Joseph Center CodeTalk Program Celebrates New Graduates in the Tech Industry

On June 21, 2024, a jubilant group of women graduated from St. Joseph Center’s CodeTalk program at Snap Inc. headquarters in Santa Monica, CA. During the luncheon ceremony, the graduates proudly showcased their tech program accomplishments and received flowers and certificates to recognize them.

Codetalk is an intensive 16-week digital web technology vocational program for low-income, underserved women of all ages. It is an incubator for brilliant and capable women trapped in a cycle of low income. The program ensures everyone gets access to the education, opportunity, and resources that propel them into the workforce. As a Codetalk graduate, you get to know yourself as someone whose work product is valuable. This free program creates a pathway for individuals to become firmly stable in the economy, gaining job skills that build their careers.

When asked how she felt after becoming a CodeTalk graduate, Sydnee replied, “Today means a lot to me. I learned so much in CodeTalk. It’s an amazing program. Everybody should do it. The people are amazing—great mentors, great teachers, great instructors–thanks so much for having me.” St. Joseph Center thanks all staff, including Morgan O’Connor (Case Manager), Jalaya Tyars (Instructor), Nancy Vasquez (Instructor), and Chris Parker (Excellence Manager/TA). This program would not have been possible without the companies and individuals volunteering their time and supporting CodeTalk: Snap Inc., Honest Company, Amazon, Tatri.tv, Dave.com, Google Women in Tech Hollywood, Sony, and Glo.


To learn more about the CodeTalk program, please click here.

Long-time Supporter Sister Kathy Stein Visits St. Joseph Center's Food Pantry

St. Joseph Center was honored with a visit from long-time supporter Sister Kathy Stein. Sister Kathy volunteered with the Center's Food Pantry for eight years and was thrilled to see her old office again with a new lamp!


Pictured L to R: St. Joseph Center VP of Administration, Keith Anyon; Sister Kathy Stein and Food Pantry Program Manager, Lorena Gonzalez

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