By Crystal Zahler
Learning, and Love, while Observing the issues and solutions. The homeless community of Southern California is the largest in the nation and the difficulties that face that community are multi-faceted with no quick solution to resolve the problem overnight. Project H.A.L.O.'s host Crystal Zahler, explores current solutions that are in operation along with professionals that have information to share on what more could be done in the future to assist people experiencing homelessness.
Project H.A.L.O.May 02, 2022
Ep 5 - Andrew Linares & The Midnight Mission
Crystal Zahler interviews Andrew Linares who experienced homelessness and received help through the Midnight Mission, where he now works as Volunteer Manager. He has been on both sides of homelessness and is grateful to be where he is now and working with the mission. Andrew explains all the services provided by The Midnight Mission to it's residents as well as those living on the streets of Skid Row, as well as his personal struggles with substance abuse which led to his experience with homelessness in the past.
The Midnight Mission is a non-profit organization that has been serving those experiencing homelessness for over 100 years in Los Angeles. The mission got it's name from serving meals behind a church at midnight back in the early 1900s. Now multiple meals are served daily and the organization does not have direct ties to religion, just purely the goal of helping anyone experiencing homelessness or financial hardships regardless of their beliefs. In 2005 The Midnight Mission relocated to the heart of Skid Row where it felt the community needed to be served the most. Andrew Linares has worked for The Midnight Mission for over 4 years, after actually receiving services a few years prior to that and is appreciative for the services offered. More information on volunteering can be found here.
Ep 4 - Lily Sofiani, Assistant Deputy of Homelessness Policy
Crystal Zahler interviews Lily Sofiani, the Assistant Deputy of Homelessness Policy in L.A. County. She currently works under L.A. County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and previously worked for the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. Her graduate education focused on Homelessness Policy specifically in Los Angeles. She explains why many veterans are no longer the largest homeless population, the struggles of building new housing units in L.A. County and how many housing units all of the cities in the county are actually behind by and even touches on some of the history that has led to this moment.
Lily Sofiani is the Assistant Deputy of Homelessness Policy for District 2 under Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. Lily has been passionate about helping people since she was a little kid, but back then she thought it would take her making large sums of money to make a difference. Now she's realized that her daily work is able to make an impact. For more details on her present position or the path she paved towards her current role, she is on LinkedIn.
Ep 3 - Julia Ostunio & The OC Rescue Mission
Crystal Zahler goes on a tour of the Village of Hope in Tustin with Julia Ostunio. Julia is the Manager of Volunteer Resources at The OC Rescue Mission and provides her insight on how the organization is run and what it does for their students in order to help them succeed and progress through this back to work style program. Note: All adult residents of the program are called students, the village looks and feels like a college campus, and progress levels are called Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior.
The OC Rescue Mission is not an emergency facility, but a back to work program that helps their students get the highest paying job they've ever had. Julia Ostunio has been working with the mission for several years and has been touched by the impact they are able to make on people's lives. If you would like to see what the campus looks like, they have a visual tour on their website here. If you would like to donate your time, volunteer information can be found here.
Ep 2 - John Maceri & The People Concern Street Team
Crystal Zahler interviews John Maceri, the CEO of The People Concern a non-profit organization working to help those experiencing homelessness, domestic abuse, and other issues. Zahler also goes out into the field in Santa Monica along side the Homelessness Multi-disciplinary Street Team to get an inside look on how life is for those experiencing homelessness and how The People Concern is trying to help. Mental health, substance abuse, affordable housing are all part of the conversation in addition to the difficulties on the psyche of those who are doing this work daily.
John Maceri of The People Concern, a non profit organization in Santa Monica, California has been working with non-profits since the 1980s and is working hard to care for those experiencing homelessness, domestic abuse, and other hardships. The People Concern has over 56 years of experience and aims to help those most vulnerable. Volunteering information can be found here for those interested in donating their time.
Ep 1 - Gary Painter, USC Professor
Welcome to the Project H.A.L.O. podcast which is about helping the homeless community with awareness, action, learning, and love, while observing the issues and solutions. Episode 1 is an in-depth interview with Gary Painter a professor at USC who has done years of research on Homelessness in Los Angeles and Southern California. He expresses his findings on the causes of homelessness, the major solutions he deems appropriate, and how previous decades handling of housing has led to today's complicated situation.