The gathering began right on time at 12:30PM but without the
WVRC ship’s bell. PP Marsha Hunt more than made up for its absence by
reminding us that the WVRC is famous for 92 years of warm friendships
and service to Humanity. All those she called on during the meeting also
were reminded of when they became part of WVRC.
PP Marsha called on Nevin Senkan ’98 to lead us in the Pledge to the Flag,
which she was happy to perform. PP Marsha then reminded us of all the tried and true
wisdom in our Four Way Test before handing the microphone off to PP Steve Scherer class of
’85, who many years ago sponsored Marsha into our club, one of his more consequential
contributions. Steve giving the “Thought for the Day”, has been involved with the People
Concern as well as its predecessor organizations like OPCC where he summed up their service
as “going forth to meet people (to help) them where they are,” for which he gave thanks to the
PP Marsha then called PP Admiral Edwin Gauld ‘03 to share a singing solo
ditty with us. He may have been discouraged lately, as he brought forth
“Home on the Range” with feeling—since we’re discussing “homes for the homeless” today.
PP Gordon Fell, also ’03, introduced our visitor, his District 5280 associate, Makiko
Nakasone, who will become 5280’s DG in July of 2023. Also in attendance was Kelli Allen,
current president of the famous UCLA Rotaracts. She is back at UCLA as a Senior in Political
Science (doubling in Environmental Studies) and continuing the UCLA Rotaract tradition of
doing more volunteering than is possible (it seems).Current President Nancy McCready also
Zoomed with us today, looking good despite being under the weather, allowing her crew to
handle this meeting.
Phil Gabriel ’12, Youth Chair, cheerfully announced that the Christmas
Shopping Spree 2.0 will, like last year, consist of a Zoom dinner to get to know the
children from The Salvation Army Transitional Center, then we “spree” around for
family gifts (or click on Amazon) and make sure the gifts are delivered. The gig
is still fun and worthwhile, but much less fun for us (selfish comment)!
DG Guity Javid will visit us on 10/7, meeting with our BOD at 11:30AM
and Zooming our meeting at 12:30PM. Mere members can join in the Waiting
Room at 12:25PM.
Some famous wines and hors d’oeuvres will be meeting at the hacienda
of Drs. Eleanor and Jim Meyer ’14 on Friday, Oct 2. If you’re attending, you’ll
need to leave home as I type (sorry, late notice). Also, don’t forget the District
5280 Foundation Ball and Opportunity Tickets Drawing on November 6!
John O’Keefe ’09 came forward to introduce today’s speakers: Zachary
Coil, Director of Westside Homeless (5 yrs) and Maureen Rivas, Program Manager
(9 yrs). They’ve both spent their careers working in homeless outreach. John
belongs to WLAHomeless.Org, (a 501©3), which he believes is the first local group
to seek out and meet the homeless on their own ground. They are addressing the
area that roughly defines Westwood, which has a count of about 250 homeless.
They hired The People Concern which works a comprehensive approach to
bringing the homeless into permanent housing and keeping them there. They
claim a 93% success rate with their host of services: medical care; mental health treatment;
income assistance; substance abuse treatment; and even a canine program.
So, this approach provides a LOT of services, as many do, but the heart of
It consists of:
- Find the homeless where they are living and surviving.
- Determine the trauma that put them in this situation and address it.
- Convince them that it is possible to escape their condition.
- Ignore bad behavior and small problems.
- Focus on “harm reduction” and address the big problems with resources.
- Be patient with bad habits.
You can only gain their trust by helping them in ways they recognize.
They are in hiding and don’t follow the daily news as we can. When Covid began
to shut LA down, the panhandlers didn’t know what was happening. Bring
vaccinations and medicine to them where they are. Don’t expect them to call
you when they need help. You will have to organize their access to resources
and show them how to build a new life.
Those with severe mental problems are not AWARE of them. Take psych
workers out into the street to help. Medications can be life-changing but they
are usually afraid of them. Take small steps to build trust.
Outreach is a sales job. You must understand your client-not just teach them.
You will be busy all the time and you can never give up.
THE ONLY SOLUTION IS HOUSING!!!!
Everything on this page is simple-probably simpler than raising a child.
With all the homeless news you read, do you ever hear about this approach?
Things won’t get better without leadership and funding. We have 65,000
homeless in LA, not 250.