Comforts Of Home – Two Stories About The Importance of St. Francis Center’s Rental and Utility Assistance Program

Before the busy upcoming holiday, I wanted to tell you a couple of quick stories about two very different guests who received support from St. Francis Center through our Rental and Utility Assistance program. 

The first success story that stands out is about K (name redacted for privacy), an unhoused young man struggling to find a place to live despite his stable job. K came to us, desperate for assistance. He had a stable and reliable job as an Amazon delivery driver, and yet was living out of his work truck as he was unable to save enough to afford a security deposit and first month’s rent. This was not an ideal solution, as he was risking his job in order to have a safe place to sleep at night. Imagine working your hardest, picking up extra shifts, but with the rising cost of housing and simply living in Los Angeles, you are still unable to afford the astronomical cost of moving into a new apartment. We assisted K with his first month’s rent and security deposit, enrolled him in our pantry program, and provided him with a new mattress, kitchen supplies, and household items to make his apartment home. From time to time, we see him volunteering at the center because now that he is in a stable position to do so, he feels the need to give back.

H came to us six months pregnant with her first baby. She had an apartment in the Skid Row area, and was working part-time because of her pregnancy, but her landlord was threatening to evict her. With her pregnancy, she had put some things into perceptive. She wanted to give her baby the best and move to a better area to raise her child. She qualified for Section 8 housing and found an apartment in a better area to move into. But when it came time to pay the move-in costs, she came to us for assistance. How much do you think she was required to put down to move into her new apartment? The first month’s rent and security deposit was $4,500, even with her Section 8 voucher. An outrageous amount for anyone to be expected to have on hand, let alone an expecting mother who qualified for Section 8. We were able to assist her with the move-in costs, and enrolled her in our pantry and diaper programs! She had a healthy baby girl in October, and is enjoying life in her new apartment. We are grateful that we were able to support this new family.

Sometimes, all people need is a helping hand. We see folks of all different circumstances come to St. Francis Center because they don’t have a reliable support system to fall back on. We are proud and grateful that we get to step in and be the support that our guests need and welcome them to our community on Hope Street. With the rising cost of living in Los Angeles and the moratorium on rental evictions lifted this year, we see far too many cases of families being evicted from their homes. Housing preservation is essential to keeping families and individuals from becoming unhoused and setting up families for success in the future.

This holiday season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to St. Francis Center in support of our mission and work. Your donation helps support a community organization actively making a difference in the lives of those we serve. Thank you for your support.

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