On December 9th, 2020, WestCare California, Inc., a behavioral health and human services organization that provides assistance in the areas of housing opportunities, mental health and wellness, Veterans services, criminal justice services, education and prevention as well as treatment and rehabilitation, announced that it has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.
“Our organization prides itself in the impact that we have made, with the support of the other agencies in our community, to successfully transition the men, women and families that we serve from a state of homelessness to one of dignity, confidence and security. With the generous support that we have received from the Day 1 Families Fund, we will assist even more families in obtaining housing. On behalf of our staff and those that we serve, thank you for joining us in Uplifting the Human Spirit!” said Shawn Jenkins, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of WestCare Foundation’s Western Region.
This one-time grant, awarded to organizations doing meaningful work to connect families with shelter and support, will allow WestCare California to continue to secure permanent, supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, as well as provide wraparound services to help them maintain their independence.
WestCare California is one of 42 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the third annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, as part of a continuing commitment by the Day 1 Families Fund to help end homelessness for families. The Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $105.9 million in grants this year. To select these organizations, the fund worked with an advisory board of homelessness advocates and leaders whose expertise spans housing justice, racial equity, direct services, homelessness policy, equity for Native American communities and anti-poverty work.
Through the generosity of the Bezos Day One Fund, we will be able to continue to house and assist more Central Valley families like Akisha’s. This is her story:
“Akisha enrolled at WestCare California’s Home Sweet Home rapid rehousing program in September of 2019. In her initial meeting, our Case Manager learned that her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was ending and her CalFresh and CalWorks benefits were deactivated. She expressed feelings of frustration and later as we built a relationship, her Case Manger learned she was going through grief and her emotional and mental health desperately needed support.
Step by step, as we set her goals and in a matter of four months, Akisha worked hard and was able to reenroll in her public benefits, gain more income, achieve Section 8 residency and enroll in mental health services.
In late October 2020, she moved out with her daughter, Shairone, into permanent housing, renewed her guard card and is in the process of looking for employment. Shairone is graduating high school early and is already applying to colleges and universities with an interest in pursuing a degree in the medical field!
Through hard work and no matter how tough things became, Akisha never stopped trying and the results of her perseverance are a testament to her accomplishments!”
The Bezos Day One Fund was launched in 2018 with a commitment of $2 billion and a focus on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: No child sleeps outside. For more information and the full list of recipients, please visit: www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund
For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.
WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents and families.