Using mostly donations, there are hundreds of churches in Los Angeles County that can help the working poor. The resources available range from in-kind goods to direct financial aid for paying bills or rent to free clinics for a variety of needs. More information on a local church, as well as details on how to apply, are listed below.
Some parishes will be focused on supporting just a certain religion. However when it comes to providing assistance to families living in poverty (or that are facing a crisis), there will not be any requirement to religion, race, or background. This means that a church assistance program, whether it is normally focused on Spanish speakers in Los Angeles, Catholics, Korean, or some other religion, will not focus on any one group when it comes to offering aid to people living in poverty. The help provided from places such as West Hollywood United Church Of Christ, whether for rent, energy bills, legal aid, or anything else is available in the community.
Los Angeles churches depend on either paraprofessional staff to provide services and/or volunteers. Most locations use both types of staff. This is generally due to demand for help. There may be volunteers that work at a food pantry or thrift store, or professional staff that organize legal clinics or pay out funds for rent or light bills. So the two types of staff at a church work together to help the disadvantaged.
Church based clinics are set up for many different needs. First AME Church (2248 S. Hobart Ave. Los Angeles California, 90018, (323) 735-1251)) has a Sunday Legal Clinic that deals with civil issues, ranging from evictions to landlord disputes. Law students from local colleges as well as highly trained attorneys work at the center to advise clients. Many other legal issues will be addressed, such as applying for citizenship in the US, applications for public assistance include rent help or LIHEAP, and more.
Medical clinics are also held. These truly benefit the homeless in Los Angeles County. Other patients that end to benefit include illegal immigrants, the poor, and refugees to southern California. Powerhouse Church of World Impact (2003 E Imperial Hwy, Los Angeles, California 90059-2200, dial (323) 566-6626) holds monthly sessions, in which people can get free health or dental care. Or they can learn about medical bill assistance programs.
When someone is sick, churches try to step up to serve. If a senior citizen is in the hospital (or a nursing home) volunteers may deliver food. Or they just provide companionship. Immigrants or refugees to the county will be able to access medical care, and St. Gerard Majella Church at 4439 Inglewood Blvd. Los Angeles CA, 90066 (telephone - (310) 390-5034) will support cancer patients. While medical bills are rarely paid, it may be possible for the ill to get a little extra financial support for their everyday living needs.
This is where donations come into play. Churches may not always be able to provide emergency financial help for paying bills, so in these cases they try to provide in-kind goods. This means that the family is passing out material goods rather than dollars. One example of this is offering text books for someone seeking a GED.
Food is one of the main forms of assistance provided. St. Cyril's Catholic Church is at 15520 Ventura Blvd. Encino CA, 91436 (phone (818) 981-6832) is one of the locations that has a food pantry. The staff either give a box of free groceries (with canned items, baby formula, and ethnic food) along with meals. There are dozens of other churches in Los Angeles County that offer sack lunches or dinners too. This can provide emergency relief.
Other in-kind goods are available too. The hunger prevention resources from locations, such as St. Bernadette Catholic Church (3825 Don Felipe Dr. Los Angeles California, 90008, (dial (323) 293-4877), feed the homeless as well as unemployed. However not only may free food be given out, but there may also be free clothes, blankets for the homeless, work attire (boots, helmets, suits, etc.) and much more. The in-kind items are intended to address the crisis. When that can't be done, then free vouchers may be given instead.
Some parishes, including West Hollywood United Church of Christ at 7350 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA, 90046 (telephone (323) 874-6646), receive grants from the government or United Way Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). Or they hold independent fund raisers in the community to raise money for the disadvantaged.
When a church does have some money available, the four main uses are for paying light bills (to stop a shut off); rent (for preventing evictions); prescription drugs (for medical needs); work expenses (gasoline or bus tickets). There may also be some money available at the discretion for other bills, and St. Athanasius And St. Paul as well as other churches do this at their discretion. Since affordable housing is always in need, there are many other resources available for tenants that offer assistance paying rent in Los Angeles.
Some faith based groups also have FEMA funds available. First Presbyterian Church Of Los Angeles (address 1809 West Blvd. Los Angeles CA, 90019, number: 323.463.7161) is supported by FEMA funds. There is additional rental assistance available as well as shelters during the summer or winter. This is another resources available in Los Angeles County, but it focuses mostly on housing needs.
This is a core program available at almost any regional parish. While a church may offer food, meals, assistance for paying utilities, and other help, they really want people in poverty to get on the patch to stability. Philadelphian SDA Church (2640 Santa Fe Ave. Long Beach CA, 90910, phone: (562) 612-5001) has staff on site that meet with clients to go over their needs. Information is given in Spanish, Chinese, and other language.
It is always critical for a parish to help clients acclimate to Los Angeles County. Illegal immigrants can seek refugee, and learn about their options. For those other immigrants that want to live in the states, a church such as Catholic Charities will help them completing applications for citizenship, review services such as ESL classes, and place them into jobs or housing. These newcomers often need the most support, and a local parish can help.
With hundreds of churches focused on helping the poor, and tens of thousands of people seeking help, it is recommended to get a referral. The information is www.211la.org/programs-services/search/. Each church will provide their own type of assistance, whether it is financial, clothes, medical care, or more.
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