Homelessness has reached crisis levels in the San Fernando Valley and throughout much of the United States. In the Valley and so many other places, the sight of people living in tents, makeshift shelters, and encampments is sadly all too common.
The Friese Foundation believes that people experiencing homelessness should have the opportunity to rebuild their lives and find secure housing. That’s why the foundation supports the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, which is dedicated to providing people with shelter, basic necessities, and guidance for climbing out of homelessness.
How the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission Fights Homelessness
Escaping from homelessness requires shelter, support, and guidance. The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission’s fight against homelessness rests upon three principles:
· Refuge – Providing shelter, food, and clothing to those who need help.
· Recovery – Helping people work toward the recovery of the body, mind, and spirit through Bible-based programs.
· Restoration – Offering resources for living independent and stable lives, such as vocational training.
These three main tenets help beneficiaries of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission begin their journey out of homelessness and into new lives of productivity and housing security.
Families can begin their journey toward refuge, recovery, and restoration at the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission’s Home Again Family Success Center in Northridge. Here, families can find a place to stay and the most basic necessities they need to start getting back on their feet, like clothing and food. Additionally, the Center helps these families identify the reasons they are homeless and helps them create a restoration plan for finding stable, permanent housing.
Located in Hollywood, the Renewed Hope Recovery Program is dedicated to helping homeless men struggling with substance abuse issues and problems. Along with receiving the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing, participants benefit from case management services, classroom instruction, and both individual and group therapy. They also receive vocational training to help them find employment.
Renewed Hope is a free, 10-month residential recovery program. The program is designed to provide Bible-based guidance for participants, teaching them how to cultivate discipline and structure in their lives and how to overcome personal demons.
The organization also has a direct outreach program known as Survival Outreach Services. Volunteers reach out directly to people living on the streets, offering meals, clothing, haircuts, and personal hygiene products.
In addition, the organization has a free mobile hot shower unit that travels around to churches in the Valley. Those who visit these mobile shower stations have the chance to begin their recovery journey by speaking with a case manager, volunteers, and members of local churches.
The COVID-19 pandemic created major challenges for people experiencing homelessness. Thousands of people in the Los Angeles area became food insecure after being laid off from their jobs. The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission helped address this food insecurity crisis by setting up a “pop-up” food pantry at the Northridge Mall, where families in need could receive groceries. From mid-March to April 2020, the Mission served 14,969 meals to 7,348 people at the pantry. Clients from the Renewed Hope program volunteered to staff the pantry.
In November 2020, the Mission distributed meals instead of holding their usual sit-down Thanksgiving Banquet. Some 965 families received boxes of food for cooking Thanksgiving meals, and 300 families staying in hotels received prepared meals. The Mission estimates they fed eight times as many people compared to the 2019 Thanksgiving Banquet.
Overall in 2020, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission doubled their usual meals during the COVID-19 lockdown. They provided 13,000 shelter nights, 19,000 showers, and 2,400 articles of clothing, and they were able to help 34 families transition to stable housing. Because guests at their shelters remained at the shelter during lockdowns, the Mission doubled their meals served to 29,000 meals in 2020.