Open Collective
Open Collective
After the rains, here comes the sun!
Published on January 23, 2023 by Elizabeth Jansma Sharma

Dear friends,

After weeks of unrelenting rain, it was such a joy to gather together in the sunshine for our monthly Resource Center at Saint Bede's Church in Mar Vista on Saturday. We welcomed over forty guests and a huge turnout of 65 volunteers, many of whom were joining us for the first or second time - AMAZING! Many thanks to all our guests, volunteers, service providers and partner organizations for spreading the word.

Before we take a deeper dive into Saturday's Resource Center, here are 4 things you can do to get more involved and support our unhoused neighbors: 
  1. Click here to sign up to volunteer for the next LAN4N Resource Center on 2/18/23.
  2. Check out our wishlist, which includes items that guests requested for our next Resource Center (to distribute at our "special items" station). Feel free to share :)
  3. Click here to submit public comment opposing nine new 41.18 zones in CD11.
  4. Click here to learn about Culver City's plan to seize unhoused residents' belongings and join the protest today at 5pm (click here for flyer).
(The LAN4N clothing team)

This past month was really rough on our unhoused neighbors. The constant downpour put lives at risk, and there were brutal and unprecedented sweeps across the Westside and South Bay. The mayor brought her "Inside Safe" program to Venice, bringing some neighbors into motels from the rain, but only with stringent requirements and little hope of long-term housing.

What's more, we now face a new City Councilmember eager to criminalize poverty across the district, with nine new 41.18 zones declared just last week. As a friend engaged in mutual aid on the Westside put it, "We really need well-meaning people to understand that when they see an encampment disappear, it is not a good thing - it rarely means people got shelter, much less housed. It means people got violently displaced and are in an even more precarious situation than before." Let's stay vigilant, and continue to support and care for one another.

(Arts, crafts and books)

Thanks to Bob Williams, who wrote a story about the Resource Center for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. The Diocese learned that Saint Bede's Church was hosting this monthly event, so Bob took the time to interview volunteers, service providers and guests for a bulletin about the event that might inspire other churches. This month, we were pumped to have not one, not two, but three transit-related service providers this month: Bikerowave joined us again on bike repair, Metro Bike Share had free passes, and Metro Life was giving out 90-day bus vouchers.

(Metro Life, Bikerowave and Metro Bike Share)

We also had three service providers helping people get IDs, which are necessary for accessing social services. In addition to the ID vouchers offered by LAN4N (which enable unhoused residents to get an ID for free at the DMV), we were lucky to be joined by the LA County Registrar (which can access birth certificates) and Project ID (helps with out of state IDs).
(Project ID, Tom on ID vouchers, and the County Registrar)

Every month or two, we meet someone new who introduces a service or offering we didn't know we were missing, but that becomes integral to the LAN4N community. We were so happy to welcome Tangana Wellness this month, and hope they join us again!

(Isabelle and Georges from Tangana Wellness)

There was lots of yummy food at the Resource Center too! Our breakfast station was stocked with donuts, bagels, fruit, yogurt and coffee. For lunch, Chef Noah and the whole kitchen team worked their magic to serve almost 150 people delicious rice and beans bowls with toppings galore.

(Breakfast and lunch stations)

Our special items station keeps growing, and we love having this space to fulfill guests' specific requests. Every month, we take note of items that guests might need, and add them to this wishlist. We bring any donated items to the next Resource Center for distribution.

(Our wonderful special items team)

We hope that each guest, volunteer and service provider feels welcome and at home in this community from the moment they check in to the moment they check out. Thank you for joining us and hope to see you next month!

  (The amazing check-in and check-out teams)

Special thanks to all our service providers!
Art, music, + chill space by Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid
Bike repair by Bikerowave
Bike share by Metro Bike Share
Bus passes from Metro LIFE
Calfresh Sign-ups by Hunger Action LA
Caseworkers from Saint Joseph Center
Employment services from Chrysalis
Haircuts from our dear friend at Humanity Resources
Hygiene Kits from Housing MV
IDs from Project ID
Medical help by UCLA Homeless Healthcare Collaborative
Mental Health Services from the Department of Mental Health
Phones from Assurance wireless
Teas and Superfoods from Tangana Wellness
Venue and storage provided by Saint Bede's Episcopal Church
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