The man was in bad shape. Lying on a blanket in a Glendale park and surrounded by his belongings, he was bleeding profusely, the result of chronic excessive drinking. Ascencia Outreach Case Manager Alfred Hernandez approached to see what he could do.
Jeffrey (not his real name), was a 74-year-old Navy veteran who struggled with alcohol dependence, arthritis, COPD, and osteoporosis. By his count, he had been living on the streets more than 30 years.
Over Jeffrey’s objections, Alfred insisted on getting Jeffrey to a local hospital. Two weeks and 11 units of blood later, Jeffrey called Alfred. Jeffrey’s repeated history of hospitalizations, and the severity of his health conditions made him a prime candidate for an Ascencia program that identifies and moves the highest cost homeless users of hospital services to permanent housing.
Dignity Health Foundation recently granted funding for support of the outreach services for the project. Funding from the Baxter International Foundation helped Ascencia add a Hospital Liaison to work directly with hospital staff to identify eligible patients. Since last summer, Ascencia has housed ten chronically homeless frequent hospital users like Jeffrey and the program is already showing dramatic impact.
Less than a year later, Jeffrey is stable, living in his own apartment, and using a local health clinic – not the hospital – for his medical care.
For more information about Ascencia, please visit ascenciaCA.org. To schedule a tour of Ascencia’s new Glendale home at 1851 Tyburn St., please call (818) 246-7900 or email info@ascenciaCA.org.
January 31, 2014
The Tolucan Times
Ascencia’s eighth Anniversary Gala committee to support the homeless pulled out all the stops at Union Station in Los Angeles. But no guest was railroaded into attending this event — there was something for everyone.
Last Saturday, the station’s Main Concourse Room was the art-deco setting for Ascencia’s party with the theme “All Aboard.”
Once “aboard,” more than 300 community leaders were treated to the clever quips of master of ceremonies Marc Brown of ABC7 Eyewitness News, who began a quick-paced program.
First up was Brown’s introduction of Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver, who said his upcoming 75th birthday matched the opening of Union Station 75 years ago. He remembers his parents buying tickets at counters in the main concourse, now turned into a ballroom for the gala.
After dinner, the heart of the evening was devoted to the Hope and Compassion Awards presented by Ascencia Board President Gene “Chip” Stone.
First at the podium was Dunson Cheng, board chairman, president and chief executive of Cathay Bank, which was established in Los Angeles in 1962 and was the first bank founded by Chinese Americans in Southern California.
Cheng was presented with a Hope and Compassion Award for his support of Ascencia as board member and co-vice chair for Ascencia’s capital campaign committee.
Stone next presented a Hope and Compassion Award to Nick Lam, vice president of Pacific BMW in Glendale. Lam was Ascencia’s board president for seven years. He led the fundraising efforts to the tune of $4 million that resulted in a new building for Ascencia on Tyburn Street in Glendale. The grand opening is scheduled for spring.
Another star of the evening was guest speaker Ascencia client Shanesha Franklin. Her background included living in 17 different foster homes over seven years. A year ago, single mother Franklin and her toddler son were homeless. Ascencia provided shelter and services. Today, Franklin has completed her associate’s degree at Pasadena City College and was named Employee of the Month as a student worker.
In addition to Mayor Weaver, Glendale movers and shakers applauding the honorees included City Council members Laura Friedman, Frank Quintero and Zareh Sinanyan, City Manager Scott Ochoa, new Glendale Police Department Chief Robert Castro and Glendale Fire Department Interim Chief Greg Fish.
The evening ended too soon with a lively auction led by auctioneer Jeff Tanenbaum and an opportunity ticket drawing. The big winner was Cynthia Castro, wife of Police Chief Castro. She bagged a $500 shopping spree at the Glendale Galleria.
A little earlier, the lucky Castros won a “staycation” — two nights in a suite at the Residences at the Americana at Brand.
Closing remarks were given by Debbie Hinckley, gala chairperson and Ascencia board member.
“Ascencia’s goal is to end homelessness, one person, one family at a time,” she said.
The evening was expected to raise over $200,000 to support the agency’s emergency shelter, housing and support services for more than 1,200 homeless men, women and children each year.
January 28, 2014
By Ruth Sowby
THANK YOU for your support of Ascencia’s 8th Anniversary Gala “All Aboard!”
Thank you Gala Sponsors, Guest Speaker Shanesha Franklin, City of Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver, our Hope and Compassion Award honorees Cathay Bank and Nick Lam, our MC Marc Brown of ABC7, and ALL of our guests at the gala!
Click here to view Gala Sponsors.
Click here to view all photos.
Ascencia’s 8th Anniversary Gala “All Aboard!” captures the spirit of a community of supporters embarking on a journey together, to fulfill Ascencia’s mission to end homelessness in the greater Glendale area, one person, one family at a time.
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at historic Los Angeles Union Station.
Download full invitation here.
Train buffs will especially enjoy attending Ascencia’s eighth anniversary gala “All Aboard!” on Saturday at the historic Los Angeles Union Station.
Cathay Bank will receive Ascencia’s Hope and Compassion Award for helping Ascencia accomplish its mission. Nick Lam, vice president of Pacific BMW, is also being honored for serving as president of Ascencia’s board of directors from 2006 to 2013.
Dinner will be catered by Command Performance and live music will be performed by the Trevor Hill Combo.
This formal dinner and live auction event is expected to raise more than $200,000 to support the agency in providing emergency shelter, housing and support services for more than 1,200 homeless men, women and children annually.
Since its founding in 2006, Ascencia has provided housing and support services for nearly 10,000 homeless men, women and children.
Live auction packages include a getaway to MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a vacation condo in Lake Tahoe and a stay-cation package at the Americana at Brand in Glendale. Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased by calling (818) 476-9821 or email gala@ascenciaCA.org.
January 21, 2014
By Joyce Rudolph
Tickets are now available for Ascencia’s 8th Anniversary Gala “All Aboard!” on Saturday, Jan. 25 at historic Los Angeles Union Station in Los Angeles. This formal dinner and live auction event is the agency’s largest annual fundraiser, welcoming over 300 community and business leaders in the greater Glendale area for a night of celebration and fellowship. The evening is expected to raise over $200,000 to support the agency in providing emergency shelter, housing and support services for over 1,200 homeless men, women and children annually.
Ascencia is the only comprehensive homeless service provider in the greater Glendale area, providing street outreach, case management, a 40-bed emergency shelter for over 200 residents every year, an 80-bed winter shelter program, and transitional and permanent supportive housing for 80 families and formerly chronically homeless adults. Since its founding in 2006, Ascencia has provided housing and support services for nearly 10,000 homeless men, women and children.
“We’re excited to host ‘All Aboard!’ at Union Station this year, a fitting location for an event that captures the spirit of a community of supporters embarking on a journey together, to fulfill Ascencia’s mission to end homelessness in the greater Glendale area, one person, one family at a time,” said Natalie Profant Komuro, Ascencia’s executive director.
The evening’s program will include the presentation of Ascencia’s Hope and Compassion Award to Cathay Bank for its dedicated support in fulfilling Ascencia’s mission and to Nick Lam, vice president of Pacific BMW, who served with distinction as president of Ascencia’s board of directors from 2006 to 2013. Dinner will be catered by Command Performance and live music will be provided by the Trevor Hill Combo.
Auctioneer Jeff Tanenbaum will provide high energy during the live auction and Fund-A-Need segments of the program. Live auction packages include a getaway at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a vacation condo in Lake Tahoe, collection of fine wines, a stay-cation package at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Hollywood Bowl boxed seats, and more.
Tickets to “All Aboard” are $150 per seat. For more information about table sponsorship opportunities, to request an invitation or to purchase tickets, contact Sarah Joung at (818) 476-9821 or email gala@ascenciaCA.org.
For more information about Ascencia’s programs and services, visit www.ascenciaCA.org. To schedule a tour of Ascencia’s new Glendale home contact Ascencia at (818) 246-7900 or via email at info@ascenciaCA.org.
January 16, 2014
Crescenta Valley Weekly
By Robin Goldsworthy
Jim Nash reports from Glendale for the KTLA 5 News at 6 (Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013)
Outreach workers hand out fliers to let homeless people know about facility.
Francisco Lovato has been out of steady work for more than a year. The handyman takes up landscaping jobs now and then, but it’s not enough to get him off the streets.
He ended up on Monday night at Glendale’s emergency winter shelter at 437 Fernando Court with about 50 other people looking for a warm place to sleep.
“I needed shelter,” he said
Lovato, 57, said he owned a house in Van Nuys until the mortgage outpaced his earnings, even though he worked seven days a week, juggling a job at a hardware store and a side business cleaning pools.
For almost all of the past 16 years, the shelter operated out of the Glendale National Guard Armory on Colorado Boulevard. This year, the shelter moved to Fernando Court, an industrial street near the edge of the city.
When the shelter was at the armory, patrons at the Glendale Central Library, Adult Recreation Center and nearby retailers complained about the influx of homeless that came when the facility opened its doors. In 2011, city officials tried to minimize the number of homeless in the area by reducing a once 150-bed regional shelter at the armory to a 50-bed one, but the pilot program only lasted one season when Glendale ran out of money.
Last winter, Ascencia, Glendale’s largest homeless services provider, took over the 90-day shelter, and set up 80 beds, although the nonprofit often went over capacity.
Ascencia is once again operating an 80-bed shelter, but this year, the organization extended its lease to run the facility mainly out of its former offices on Fernando Court. Seventy beds are at the Fernando Court facility and 10 beds are at Ascencia’s new location at 1851 Tyburn Street.
Ascencia is using a roughly $145,000 grant from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a joint powers authority run by the county and city of Los Angeles and $7,500 from the city of Glendale to pay for the shelter, which will stay open through March 1.
During the day, Ascencia outreach workers hand out fliers to homeless people in Glendale, Burbank and northeast Los Angeles to let them know that the shelter is at a new location.
The shelter has been getting about 50 homeless people a day. However, shelter workers say, as the weather gets colder and General Relief checks — which are federal subsidies of about $220 a month for impoverished adults — run out by the middle of the month, more homeless people are expected to line up.
“By the end of the week we may have to turn down people,” said David Broadway, a homeless outreach worker with Ascencia, adding that Ascencia will refer them to other shelters once the beds fill.
Ascencia usually refers the clients they can’t serve to a shelter in Sylmar. Some homeless people also go to a Pasadena shelter on Lake Street when the Glendale shelter is at capacity, but that may not be a steady option now that the Pasadena shelter will only open this winter when there’s a 40% chance of rain or the weather drops below 40 degrees due to funding shortages.
Claudia Majercik, who’s been homeless off-and-on for the past three years, said she found out about the shelter on Monday night after she and her wife couldn’t get two beds at a 10-bed shelter in Pasadena. That shelter only had room for one of them, but they wanted to be together.
Majercik has a 5-year-old son, who currently lives with his father, but she wants to find housing so she can have partial custody. She and her wife survive off of a combined income of $440 from General Relief, which isn’t enough to pay for housing.
“If I had a place, I’d have [my son] four days out of the week,” said the 45-year-old. “All we need is a chance, a steady place to live and a roof over our heads.”
December 4, 2013
By Brittany Levine
Winter Shelter Opens
On Sunday, December 1, 2013, Ascencia opened its 80 bed shelter to homeless adults. Part of Los Angeles County’s 1500 bed seasonal shelter program, the opening comes just as overnight temperatures are forecast to dip to 34 degrees. In a departure from prior years, the program has moved from the Glendale Armory in downtown Glendale to Ascencia’s original location in south Glendale. In late October the agency moved its Access Center and year-round emergency housing program a mile east to a new facility the agency owns. With the help of the City of Glendale, Ascencia retained the lease on its old home so that it could operate the winter shelter there this year. Due to size limitations, 70 people will stay at the Fernando Court location and 10 people who would otherwise qualify for Ascencia’s year-round program, will stay at the Tyburn street location.
Last year 541 people used the shelter. Since the shelter’s closing last March, 7 homeless people have died on the streets of Glendale.
“We are extremely grateful to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and the Cities of Glendale and Burbank for the funding to launch this program. We also must acknowledge the incredible contribution of food by Glendale Whole Foods and our volunteer Guest Chefs. Their support truly makes this program possible” said Ascencia’s Executive Director Natalie Komuro.
“It is hard work, but our staff loves this program. We appreciate the opportunity to help people during the coldest time of the year and hope we can do more to move them out of homelessness altogether.”
Clients using the winter shelter program will be strongly encouraged to take advantage of Ascencia’s services at its Access Center. These services include on-site advocacy for benefits, employment counseling, trauma therapy and psychiatry. Clients will also be referred to partner agencies for legal assistance, job development and primary health care.
As in prior years, Ascencia’s street outreach team will expand their services to Burbank under a contract with the City of Burbank.
Interested volunteers are welcome to contact Sarah Joung at sjoung@AscenciaCA.org. For more information, please see www.AscenciaCA.org.
Since 2006, Ascencia has been providing an array of services and housing to assist hundreds of homeless families and individuals as the largest operator of homeless services in Glendale. In addition to Ascencia’s 40 bed year-round family and individual shelter, Ascencia operates transitional housing for families and permanent supportive housing for formerly chronically homeless adults. More information can be found at www.ascenciaCA.org. For daily updates and photos see facebook.com/AscenciaCA or twitter.com/AscenciaCA.
What: Ascencia Winter Shelter, 80 single adults each night
Where: 437 Fernando Court, Glendale, CA 91204
When: Sunday, December 1 until Saturday, March 1, 2014
Natalie Komuro, executive director of Ascensia [sic], pushes open the door of a single-story warehouse in Glendale. Right now the shelter’s empty, but from December through March, 80 single adults who don’t have a place to sleep will stay here each night.
It might be a crunch.
“I think 45 here, and then we’ll fit another 15 here,” says Komuro, pointing to various corners of the giant room. “And then we’ll have the dining table set up for meals.”
Each year, about 1,500 extra beds open around the county for the colder, rainier winter months. The program’s been going on for at least two decades.
This year, in addition to hot meals and a place to sleep, each shelter will be helping homeless clients enroll in medical and mental health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Other factors also make this year a bit different. Mike Arnold of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, says the homeless population has increased about 15 percent from two years ago.
He identifies a variety of reasons for the increase. Rents are high in L.A. and vacancy is low. Arnold says federal budget cuts have hit housing resources like Section 8. And, he says, in California, prison realignment has put more former inmates on the street with fewer resources.
“So all of those conspire, I think, to make it a very very challenging time,” Arnold says.
For Natalie Komuro, operating a winter shelter is crucial, but she wishes the long term resources were in place.
“Seven people died on the streets in Glendale since last year,” she says. “And we know they were winter shelter clients. When the program ended, they didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Those looking for shelter can call the county’s helpline, 211, or visit the LAHSA website. Ascensia [sic] is also looking for volunteers to cook meals for shelter clients between now and March 1.
November 29, 2013
89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio
By Rina Palta