WestCare California, Inc. Receives $2.5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant To Help End Homelessness

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


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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.

FMCoC FY2019 HUD NOFA Collaborative Application and Priority Listing for Public Posting

The document linked below includes all parts of the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care Consolidated Application, including the CoC Application attachments and the Priority Listing with reallocation forms.

FMCoC FY2019 HUD NOFA Collaborative Application and Priority Listing for Public Posting

A Veteran’s Story: Dustin (Renaissance at Parc Grove)

We’d like to share a piece about one of the Veterans that we proudly serve, Dustin, a tenant at Renaissance at Parc Grove, an affordable housing complex with 40 units for Veterans and their families, specifically Veterans with or without a disability who are experiencing homelessness.

Dustin, Renaissance Testimonial - Picture

“Dustin has led an eclectic and exciting life. He is always busy doing something and he is consistently working on ways to better himself. This doesn’t surprise me though because he is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Dustin enlisted in the USMC in 1964 and was a part of the 26 Marines, 5th Marine Division when the United States joined the conflict in Vietnam. He served for four years which concluded in 1968 with an honorable discharge. He then attended Delta College and received an AA in social studies and later spent time at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he majored in film. He supported himself as a factory worker, but then soon turned his sights towards an adventure in Los Angeles.

While living in Los Angeles, Dustin began to work in the entertainment industry. While working as a liaison between musicians and a musical equipment manufacturer, he was able to work with artists such as Bette Midler and Billy Thorpe. He even received a screen credit for Bette Midler’s film, ‘Divine Madness,’ as well as several album credits including one on Billy Thorpe’s second album released in the U.S. Dustin also spent time performing product placement in movies. Soon after leaving the entertainment business, he began his writing career and wrote nine political satire columns for the ‘Sierra Journal.’

It was in 1969 when Dustin tried ‘pot’ for the first time and soon after, he began growing it. In 1996, he started growing it for medicinal purposes. In 1999, he was charged and arrested, but then released as part of the Prop 36 program. After that, he applied for and was granted permission to cultivate in Modesto. When Dustin moved to Merced to purchase a 20 acre farm to continue his medical marijuana efforts, he informed the local health department, his Supervisor and the County CEO. However, he did not inform the Sheriff. Subsequently, he was arrested and the case went to the Federal level. In his words, when he went to trial, he simply had no defense. He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years for possession of marijuana and five years for having a shotgun.

Dustin spent 19 months at the Fresno County Jail as his case was decided and was then transferred to Big Spring, Texas to a low security federal prison for the next three and a half years. He then spent five and a half years at a minimum security camp in Colorado.  His last two years were spent at the camp in Lompoc, CA followed by his release to a halfway house in Fresno. Instead of spending his time complaining about the position he was in, he turned incarceration into opportunity. He used this time to write and publish his novel, ‘Squirrel Days,’ (which you can purchase on Amazon) and played in numerous prison bands. Dustin was always moving forward, taking advantage of the day by doing something that would help him with his tomorrow. 

Upon his arrival to Fresno, he began working with San Joaquin Valley Veterans (SJVV) and living at a halfway house. With their assistance, he was able to return to school and update his computer skills. He then obtained his California driver’s license and on his first day out, he began to tackle his credit so that he could purchase a car for his future plans – driving for Uber. He attended all of the classes that SJVV had to offer and found out about a new Veterans housing project, Renaissance at Parc Grove. With the help of his SJVV Veteran Advocate, he applied for a unit there and was accepted! He rented his first apartment since prison in June of 2018. However, he was still technically incarcerated. He needed to complete his time in the halfway house first before he could physically move into Renaissance. When all the other Veterans were moving in on the facility’s opening day, Dustin was only able to pay rent on his unit until his release date in September. When his release date came, he was finally was able to walk through the doors of his new apartment.

Dustin is an exemplary tenant and he is always on the go to keep pushing forward. He is a role model for the other residents of how an individual can change their life under any circumstances. Now, after all that he has experienced, he has aspirations of running a private halfway house. This would enable him to draw on his past – both the bad and the good and use it to help others turn their lives around as well. He also wants to keep driving for Uber because he loves meeting the people and hearing just a little bit of their story. He calls it ‘Social media for drivers.’

While creating this piece, Dustin told me, ‘With a little luck, some planning on my part, Fresno Adult School and the consistent support and encouragement from all of the staff at SJVV, I have been able to put my life back together.’ I am sure Dustin will move on from Parc Grove someday as he would like to retire in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. 

Dustin has come a long way from his service in the the USMC to Hollywood to his stint in ‘agriculture,’ which led him to a 15 year Federal Prison sentence. In my time working with him, I have never heard him blame anyone for his difficulties – in fact, he doesn’t speak negatively about his past at all. He took responsibility for his life’s course and remains faithful to the goals and dreams that he has set for himself – and I truly believe that he will achieve all of them! After all, the USMC motto is, ‘Semper Fidelis,’ which means, ‘Always Faithful.'”

 Kelli Bouscher, M.A.,                                                                                                                 Supportive Services Case Manager/ Linkage Specialist                                                           WestCare California, Inc./San Joaquin Valley Veterans: Renaissance at Parc Grove

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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.

2019 FMCoC NOFA TA Workshop Recap and Materials for Applicants

“On Friday, July 19th, The Fresno-Madera CoC held an informational Technical Assistance (TA) Workshop for the 2019 CoC NOFA. This workshop provided attendees with an overview of the local application process, as well as instructions for completing the local project applications. The materials from the TA workshop, including the local competition materials and scoring tools are available here.


Renewal Project Applicants: please begin your project applications in e-snaps. Renewal project applications are due in e-snaps on August 12th by 3pm. 

New Project Applicants: answers to the supplemental questions for the local competition are due in PRESTO by Thursday, August 8th at 3pm. New project applications (including budgets, the submission checklist and supporting materials) are due in e-snaps on August 12th by 3pm.

 

If you have a specialized need and would like to receive this information or any of the TA workshop materials in another format, pleases contact fmcoc@homebaseccc.org.”

 

If you missed the attachments in the recap, please see below.

TA Workshop Materials: Click Here

Supplemental Questions for New Project Applicants: Click Here

“The Perception of Growth”, a Poem by Sarah (HomeFront GPD)

We’d like to share an uplifting poem written by Sarah from our HomeFront GPD transitional living program for women Veterans with/without children. She wrote this poem for this year’s Creative Arts Competition presented by the VA Central California Health Care System and was awarded first place in her respective category! Congratulations and thank you for sharing, Sarah!

Sarah HomeFront Quote

“The Perception of Growth”

“In the essence of a journey

One gets to decide your fate.

What will it be?

You ask yourself repeatedly.

As I close my eyes, the sandman approaches and sprinkles the dust over my ambiance.

What will it be?

How will you begin your day to move forward he asks me?

How do you want to define yourself on this road?

Day after day I push and I push

Again and again through this chaotic struggle.

With ambition

Dipping my toe into the water

Patiently burgeoning

That’s the beauty of progress

Owning your experience

Not to out run your past

Or bask in the pandemonium

Remember that one who gets to decide your fate?

Look in the mirror

What do you see?

You want me to tell you what I see?

I see a fire in her eyes

The rivers in her soul

I see the improvements she makes day in and day out

Someone who desires for something greater than herself

Using that pain

Breaking that barrier

He whispers, ‘You are a sunflower

of the earth that grew too tall’

She smiled, amicably continued planting those seeds.

This year she learned to walk a new path

This year she learned to adapt to change

She learned what you import, you export

She learned that iron sharpens Iron

She learned to grow.”

– Sarah

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WCCA Logo PNG

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.

Hanford Veteran Finds Success After Reentry

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We’d like to share a letter written to our staff by the brother of Tony, a Veteran who was released from prison in August with no place to go. The day after his release, he came to our San Joaquin Valley Veterans (SJVV) office in Hanford, CA and was immediately housed by their staff and shortly after, was enrolled into school to obtain his trucking license! In December, he was discharged from the program having exceeded the requirements from earned income! He has since done extremely well for himself since he first stepped through our doors. We are proud so of all his hard work! Congratulations, Tony!

“Hi Stephanie,

I wanted to share these photos with you. I am so proud of my brother and the progress [that] he has accomplished in such a short period of time. I thank God for watching over him, because only God could create all the milestones in his life to date. I thank you too for being a great support mentor and I know he has great respect for you and your staff at WestCare. Your organization’s name says it all. You CARE.”

With great respect,

Steven L.

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WCCA Logo PNGFor 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.

Ten VSWP Veterans Graduate from the Fresno City College Police Academy

Our Veterans Safeway to Work Program (VSWP) made possible by the Safeway Foundation and Vons Foundation and offered by San Joaquin Valley Veterans  (SJVV), a project of WestCare California, provides vocational assistance to Veterans in need of supplies or training for their desired profession. We’d like to share an update for ten of our VSWP Vets who graduated from Fresno City College’s State Center Regional Training Facility (SCRTF) Police Academy this past December!

On December 11, 2017, we were proud to see ten of our Veterans served by our VSWP program be a part of the 148th graduating class of the SCRTF police academy at Fresno City College! Prior to their graduation, they have all found employment with local law enforcement agencies (Fresno and Madera Police Department and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office).

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It is our honor to say that this is our first class of Veterans that are graduating after their time with VSWP! We treated our grads to a dinner where they shared with our Deputy Administrator of Community-Based Programs, Lynn Pimentel, their personal backgrounds, what led them to choose this career path and how VSWP assisted them in their quest of becoming police officers. We are beaming with pride for all that they have accomplished and know that they will continue to make us proud while they make a positive difference within the communities that they serve!

VSWP Flyer

WCCA Logo PNGFor 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.

A Veterans Safeway to Work Program (VSWP) Update from Kenneth R.

Our Veterans Safeway to Work Program (VSWP) made possible by the Safeway Foundation and Vons Foundation and offered by San Joaquin Valley Veterans  (SJVV), a project of WestCare California, provides vocational assistance to Veterans in need of supplies or training for their desired profession. We’d like to share a letter written by a Veteran that we serve to our wonderful staff that helped him find his upcoming job with the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital!

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Kenneth receiving his first tank of gas in March 2017 courtesy of VSWP to get to work prior to receiving an offer for full-time employment.

“Greetings brother Combs,

I just wanted to inform you that as of September 3, 2017, I will be working at the VA Hospital full-time. I was offered a position in the laundry room once I completed the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program with the VA. I want to thank Denis and you for all of the time and hard work that you both invested in me. You both gave me opportunities when nobody else did. You looked beyond my legal issues and saw me for the man that I am. I am thankful to have you guys in my life; you are blessings to me. I will always keep in contact with you both just to let you know how I am doing. You both kept me motivated and my head looking to the sky.

If it was not for Denis telling me how the Veterans Safeway to Work Program (VSWP) could assist me, I would probably still be unemployed. Denis has a lot of knowledge that can benefit Veterans. I am also thankful that he told me about the CWT program and was an advocate for me getting into that program. VSWP allowed me to purchase the necessary items that I needed for work and got me to my first paycheck by purchasing me a full tank of gas.

If you can pass this message along to the individuals who provided the funding from Safeway: You do not know how blessed I am to have you help the unemployed Veterans that live in the Fresno/Madera area. I know I am not the only one you did this for, but I truly want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You gave me life again. You confirmed to me that everything is going to be alright because there are people that truly care about Veterans.”

– Kenneth R.

VSWP Flyer

 

WCCA Logo PNGFor 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.