In the late 1980’s the original South Bay Coalition for the Homeless was formed. The South Coast Ecumenical Council (SCEC – now South Coast Interfaith Council) was the sponsor of the Coalition. It supported the Coalition by including them under the umbrella of their tax exempt status and provided them with some funding to support their budding programs. Also instrumental in the Coalition’s development and success were the staff and residents of The Gateway Clubhouse, a Didi Hirsch Mental Health program. While Didi Hirsch did not directly fund the Coalition’s programs their program staff and residents were very active in the Coalition and its activities. Some of the programs offered were an Outreach Program to the homeless in Alondra Park, a Job Center, and shelter services.
The Job Center, also sponsored by the SCEC, was sustained through funds raised from the private sector and businesses. It began by offering clothing, sack lunches, use of a phone and address for employment purposes, and transportation assistance. Demand was high and the needs much greater than the services the Center was able to provide. The Job Center then expanded to provide additional services including a shower, substance abuse counseling, psychological counseling, tutoring, job seeking skill classes, use of computers and even a transitional home for those who became employed.
The Outreach Program consisted of sack lunches distributed several times a week to a very large homeless population that resided in the park and other social services such as transportation and advocacy services to help them find needed items such as blankets, sleeping bags and hygiene items. The park also allowed the homeless to shower in their gym. A resource the Coalition developed and printed were small pocket-sized cards that could be given to homeless people with South Bay resources including all the church meals programs listed.
Coalition participants mainly included heads of churches and community based programs that served the homeless in the South Bay such as St. Margaret’s Center. They were instrumental in setting up a Cold Weather Program for the South Bay and both coordinated and ran the shelter housed in the Inglewood Armory. They arranged to have buses go to various sites to transport the homeless to and from the Armory. Meals, cots, blankets and a shower were provided. Unfortunately the shelter was open sporadically due to weather conditions and participation dropped off because of this inconsistency.
The Coalition was very active in raising awareness about large numbers of homeless who called the South Bay home through participation in many speaking engagements. In addition to raised awareness, this advocacy helped to raise funds, solicit donations and recruit volunteers. It was truly a community-based, grass roots effort. Over time, the focus of funding streams shifted, sustaining these programs became a challenge, and eventually the Coalition and its programs closed.
Since the late 1980’s the faith-based organizations have provided meals to homeless people in the South Bay community. The primary goals of the Coalition are to respond to and prevent homelessness in the South Bay. It is building a strong network to establish and expand an effective referral system for the homeless and to coordinate the efforts of many homeless service providers.
In 2015, we formally changed our name to South Bay Coalition to End Homeless to better identify with our mission. A new logo was designed under the direction of Marymount California University Professor Michael Powe with his graphic arts students.
To date the Coalition has:
- Spearheaded "coordinated assessment systems" in SPA 8 by facilitating meetings for both the individual and family programs to build a strong regional collaborative, and early project leadership for Coordinated Entry System for individuals. Supported proposal efforts for CES that have brought $10 million to our region as of 2017.
- Supported the 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to improve data collection on homelessness in SPA 8 to accurately reflect the needs of our community.
- For the 2015 Homeless Count, we were the first region in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care to ever canvass 100% of our tracts (over 4,000 road miles). We repeated this in each subsequent Count, giving us tremendous insight to our area's homeless by comparing the differences and identifying treads from 2013.
- Created city and regional-level reports from the Homeless Count 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
- Participated in Redondo Beach's Homeless Task Force (2014-15); assisted with this City's Consolidated Plan revision.
- Created three subregional "pocket guild" resource sheets for those experiencing homelessness and for "first contact" community stakeholders such as law enforcement, schools and libraries.
- Created a list of resources such as free meals, free groceries, free laundry services.
- Hosted several health fairs for homeless people, offering them personal connections to the service providers, haircuts, foot washing and giveaways, such as socks, backpacks and toiletries. Currently we support Harbor Interfaith Service, as our lead Coordinated Entry System agency, in these regional outreach events.
- Spoke at community meetings and organize community forums on homelessness.
- Developed training materials for volunteer organizations to help educate them on the nature of homelessness and how engage with those who are homeless.
- In 2017, participate in the creation of City Homelessness plans for: Inglewood, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Carson.
- In 2019, partnered with Rainbow Services and Downtown Women's Center in conducting surveys of women experiencing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles neighborhoods within the South Bay.
- In 2019, assisted Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach in its joint grant application for Measure H "City Implementation" funding. Also provided inputs for Hawthorne and Inglewood's separate applications.
- In 2019, was asked to be on LA County's Homeless Initiative Office (which oversees Measure H) strategic planning "Cities" panel.
- Tracking funding sources as they become available that may apply to service delivery in the South Bay.
- Connecting with many experienced homeless service providers whose effective service delivery models can be replicated in our community.
- Accessing resources and technical assistance available leaders in their field to help us build our capacity.
- Involving non-traditional stakeholders such as cities, law enforcement, the faith community, hospitals, and others to partners.