You might’ve heard the statistics on homelessness in Los Angeles County before. But just in case you haven’t, LA County has an estimated 48,874 men, women, and children experiencing homelessness on any given night, and tens of thousands more during the course of a year. At Ascencia, we worked to end homelessness for each family and individual we meet. We identify the right solutions and follow through to achieve them. But first, here’s a quick rundown of where we came from.
In 1995, concerned Glendale residents and organizations came together to form a multi-service center to help homeless people in the area address multiple needs. The multi-service center included street outreach, employment services, substance abuse recovery assistance, benefits advocacy, an onsite health clinic and psychiatric services, as well as an adjacent shelter — a complex issue needs a multifaceted approach in order to be successful. The project added a transitional housing program and permanent supportive housing and became Project ACHIEVE, which later became Ascencia. Throughout this journey, the City of Glendale played an instrumental role in helping secure the core funding for the project and advocating for the continuation of services as the programs changed from providers, and local congregations, services clubs and businesses supported the shelter at Guest Chefs. So as you can see, we have a history rooted in the Glendale community, which to this day remains an important aspect of achieving our goals.
In 2009, Ascencia expanded services to intensify its efforts to end chronic homelessness in Glendale. Joining the 100,000 Homes Campaign in 2010, we helped create a registry of vulnerable homeless people to prioritize for housing purposes. Working with the Glendale Healthier Community Coalition, we built the relationships with local hospitals that made it possible to participate in the 10th Decile project. Nearly 12,000 homeless men, women, and children have been served by Ascencia since 2006. So, how do we serve the homeless in our community? There are a few ways.
Our Access Center, which is the point of entry for receiving services, begins with the idea of support, providing options like counseling, stress management, and trauma therapy — to name just a few. We work with clients to provide the best solution to their particular needs and circumstances. With changes to federal funding of homeless programs, our Access Center serves as the Coordinated Entry System for the Glendale Continuum of Care and we partner with systems in the San Fernando Valley and Metro Los Angeles. In the same building that houses the Access Center, we have a 40 bed, year-round emergency shelter. Our shelter is one of the few in LA county that serves single fathers with children, families with teenagers, and pregnant women regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Last year, 21% of all people served were children, 28% of all people served were disabled, and 24% of adults were seniors. Providing resources for these underserved populations is a point we take great pride in and we’ve seen amazing results using our personalized approach.
In 2011, we led the way to reduce the homeless veteran population in Glendale by more than half and 94% of the people placed in our permanent housing programs remained housed after one year. Today, we know every homeless veteran in Glendale and if they are all in process for housing. Those are what we call results! And we are looking to replicate that effort in Burbank and other surrounding communities.
In 2012, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce name Ascencia Organization of the Year. Our commitment to treating clients with dignity and respect is the cornerstone of what makes Ascencia so special. Take a look at this special day we were able to provide for some of our clients and you’ll see why we do what we do:
From surprising our clients with a special day to actively engaging in local policy discussion, we treat the issue of homelessness as it truly is — personal. And now that you know more about Ascencia, we hope you will too.