BY MAYA CASAS
Photo courtesy of AP Images.
Homeless victims in the Coachella Valley are getting help from the CV Housing First program. A study conducted by the Health Assessment and Research for Communities (HARC) showed the program was successful from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. CV Housing First has helped 401 homeless people in the Coachella Valley and with help from outside organizations, continues to support those in need.
The program has received over $2.1 million from organizations throughout the valley including Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), Desert Health Care District, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Riverside County and the cities of Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Coachella and La Quinta.
CV Housing First is a nonprofit organization created by Path of Life Ministries and CVAG. It opened July 2017 in Palm Springs. The HARC study showed that 81% of homeless clients went to permanent housing and 11% to temporary housing. Exit surveys showed the average monthly income of clients grew from $629 to $1,496.
Homelessness is not just a problem in the valley it also affects students at COD. Director of Admissions and Records, Curt Luttrell said 59 registered students at COD fall under a criterion that includes: being homeless and under the age of 25 years. This does not include homeless students who are over 25 years or do not receive financial aid. The number of homeless students at COD is higher than 59 students. Luttrell said, “not all students on the list are attending COD at the moment,” meaning students may not be enrolled this semester but are still registered in the system.
COD offers priority registration and eligibility for the California College Promise Grant formerly known as the BOG Fee Waiver to COD’s homeless community as well as access to showers and lockers, said COD’s Foster Youth Outreach Specialist, Gabriela Gudiño Martinez. Martinez also tries to connect students with local resources such as Martha’s Village and Kitchen and the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
If you or someone you know is a victim of homelessness there is help. You can contact COD’s Foster Youth Office or CV Housing First. Their Coachella Valley outreach hotline is 760-601-5424.