The organization asks for virtual support to counteract a phenomenon that does not stop growing; women are one of the fastest growing groups on the streets of LA.
Despite the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic has caused by canceling countless events, the Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is running its campaign to raise funds virtually to help homeless women .
Unlike previous years when a gala was held, this year the “Together Housed” campaign began on Sunday, September 6 and will continue until Sunday, September 27 of the same month.
Lorena Sánchez, a spokeswoman for DWC, said it is important to hold this event as homelessness among women has been a problem that has existed since before the pandemic and now only continues to grow.
“Before the pandemic we gave between 200 to 250 plates of food a day and now we are giving between 800 and 1,000 plates of food,” said Sánchez.
Women in need of temporary housing are referred to one of the two DWC shelters in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.
“When we can, we help them with the rent, what we try is to prevent them from becoming homeless,” said Sánchez.
Statistics from the Project RoomKey program, which is responsible for providing temporary shelter to the homeless during the pandemic, reported that 1,500 female participants have faced domestic violence in the past or present.
Since the stay-at-home order was given, DWC case managers, who operate remotely, estimate that they have housed more than 50 women.
Sánchez said that the center, which is considered a day center, offers services such as bathrooms, showers, cell phone and internet recharge service, food, a clinic with all services. The service had to be moved off-site to follow CDC rules and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sánchez said that what is collected will cover the most essential expenses, including the purchase of more personal protective equipment (PPE), prepaid phone cards and electronic devices to help women with certain services.
The service to obtain a case manager is optional, the spokeswoman said. Women can choose to come to the center daily for their basic needs or go further and receive the necessary help to find a more permanent place.
Statistics from the Women’s Needs Assessment released in January by DWC reveal that women and people of color are disproportionately affected by homelessness.
African-American women represent 10% of the population of the city of Los Angeles, but they accounted for almost a third (28.7%) of the women surveyed.
Most of the new homeless women were women of color: 24.1% were African-American and 35.4% were Latina.
Ways to support the campaign
DWC founder Jill Halverson said that when DWC started in 1978, it was completely run by volunteers for the first 14 years. Now DWC has a staff of more than 200 and an active volunteer corps of 5,000.
“Now, we serve thousands of women every year,” she said. “But the sense of community and the support of the community has not changed at all. This continues to drive our work now as it did back then, and taking it in new directions, and that’s really the heart of this new campaign. “
During the virtual campaign DWC asks its followers to activate their social networks to obtain funds, either individually or as a team. They ask individuals to raise $ 1,000 and teams to raise $ 3,000.
Additionally, they encourage followers to share awareness content through social media platforms to increase public exposure to the issues surrounding women’s homelessness in Los Angeles, which has been growing each year at a rate that exceeds that of men.
To support the DWC campaign visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/together-housed/
If you or a woman you know needs help, you can call the DWC at (213) 680-0060, or visit the center at 442 S. San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles.