2020 Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: People Assisting the Homeless (PATH)
Address: 340 North Madison Avenue
City: Los Angeles
Officer-title: Chief Executive Officer
Mission: PATH’s (People Assisting the Homeless) mission is to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.
ContactTitle: Senior Director of Giving and Strategy
Grant-purpose: To support PATH’s Family Commons Youth Program, an after-school enrichment program designed for formerly homeless children living in permanent supportive housing in the City of Long Beach.
What-is-project: PATH respectfully requests a grant of $10,000 from the Fennie Community Fund to help support our Family Commons Youth Program in Long Beach. Our uniquely tailored program offers educational resources and life skills development to children living in permanent supportive housing at Family Commons at Cabrillo, a residential community with 80 affordable units for families who have experienced homelessness. Family Commons is located on Long Beach’s lower westside, and half of the units are set aside for families who have a member living with a physical and/or developmental disability.
The Family Commons Youth Program recognizes the special circumstances that our families face when they transition into stable housing. As they work to increase their household income and provide care for their disabled family member, balancing their children’s development and academic requirements can be overwhelming. Many tenants are recovering from their own childhood traumas, and some are learning how to support their children’s social and emotional needs. Family Commons Youth Program is equipped to offer compassionate assistance so children can feel supported and thrive.
The Family Commons Youth Program is multifaceted and adept at anticipating our participants’ developmental needs. During the year, we provide more than 40 children with literacy building, homework help, tutoring, academic support, arts and culture enrichment, and social events to prepare them for future educational and career opportunities. The program serves youth ages 5-17, five days per week. We create a safe space where they can learn conceptually and experientially through music education, entrepreneurship training, cultural enrichment, and hands-on mentorship. Our staff works directly with the neighboring schools and teachers to ensure the children have an academic advocate.
We provide opportunities for older youth to volunteer as peer leaders to the younger participants. Our staff encourage and empower our teens to gain higher levels of responsibility and learn valuable lessons of leadership and teamwork. We also encourage them to take ownership of their work, instilling good habits that lead to successful outcomes. A key outcome is to foster a sense of service, encouraging our young leaders to give back to their community.
PATH Family Commons Youth Program is an ideal fit for the Fennie Community Fund because of the Fund’s commitment to elevating the lives and well-being of families and underserved children, in the City of Long Beach. The Fennie Community Fund’s focus on the educational needs of youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness is aligned with our ongoing practices. A $10,000 grant from the Fund will support our program’s implementation, including the personnel, supplies, and administration costs critical to operating high quality educational services. We hope to forge a new partnership, strengthening our mutual investment in the well-being of Long Beach’s youth.
How-will-you-succeed: PATH Family Commons Youth Program’s success is measured through a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. We track our youth participants along with their session attendance and activities through sign-in sheets and HMIS (Homeless Management Information System). HMIS is a commonly used database among homeless service providers. Each year, the Family Commons Youth Program serves 40 children through more than 2,500 sessions. Due to our program’s nature, our staff forges strong relationships with our youth and their families, and we are aware of contextual changes in participation via in-person encounters and case management. Our staff assesses monthly success, challenges, and needs, and conveys their findings to the director of permanent housing.
PATH’s program is nimble, and our culturally competent staff is sensitive to our participants’ needs as they develop. We are in the process of determining how we can expand our capacity to collect and document more quantitative measures. Currently, we use observations and anecdotal findings to understand our youth participants’ progress. Our trusting relationship with participants, and our ability to work with the youth on a consistent basis, allows us to understand trends, successes, and challenges. To sustain our Family Commons program, we partner with private and corporate foundations, as well as government funding. To sustain the program, we partner with private and corporate foundations, as well as government agencies. The commitment of our team has ignited a powerful impact, and we hope to partner with the Fennie Community Fund in our mutual motivation to improve the long-term well-being of underserved youth.
Who-are-you: PATH was founded in 1984 by community leaders alarmed at the growing rate of homelessness on the Westside of Los Angeles. The founding members worked 12-hours days, hosting bake sales and garage sales, until they raised enough seed money to begin feeding and sheltering their unhoused neighbors. Nearly 37 years later, PATH evolved into California’s largest homeless services provider, assisting 23,500 people annually. Since 2013, we have housed more than 10,000 people, and our real estate arm, PATH Ventures, has 1,518 permanent supportive housing units constructed or in the pipeline. Employing a Housing First approach, PATH serves individuals and families with housing-centric services to help them achieve their personal housing and wellness goals. PATH believes housing is a human right, and our mission to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities, aligns with the Fennie Community Fund’s compassionate commitment to enriching the lives of homeless youth or youth at risk of becoming homeless.
Our executive team and board of directors comprise business, faith, and community leaders, many of whom are respected advocates for social justice and equality. PATH’s chief executive officer, Joel John Roberts, has led the organization for more than two decades, as well as its housing development agency, PATH Ventures, since its inception in 2007. Roberts is a board member of Santa Clara County’s Destination: Home and has served as co-chairperson for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Interagency Council on Veterans/Interventions to Solve Homelessness Subcommittee. Jennifer Hark Dietz, LCSW, deputy CEO & executive director, oversees all of PATH’s programs, administration fundraising, and marketing. She came to PATH from the Greater Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs, where she managed the US’ largest HUD/VASH program.
In 2008, PATH Ventures began a partnership with the City of Long Beach to provide supportive services for the Family Commons at Cabrillo in Long Beach. In addition to our staff, we partner with other nonprofits. Long Beach BLAST matches a college student to one of our youth participants for an eight to 10 week period for tutoring, mentorship, self-esteem, and personal development. We also work with United in Harmony to provide otherwise costly camp experience and leadership opportunities.
Our Long Beach Family Commons Youth Program was born out of our commitment to educating and providing opportunity for underserved, low-income youth. We cultivate a safe, nurturing space for youth, helping to build academic capacity and self-confidence. In addition, our Family Commons Youth Program helps create future leaders by instilling in our participants a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and committed to their community.