Back to our regular blogging schedule:
Today’s charity is called PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) and is an incredible and successful non-profit here in Los Angeles. In their own words:
It started off with a letter. A simple invitation to the West Los Angeles community printed on Westwood Presbyterian Church stationery, asking people to get together to discuss the growing problem of homelessness. There were no grandiose visions of a large social service agency, no thoughts of developing a model for services, not even the dream of ending homelessness. This group of conscientious and compassionate individuals just wanted to help the homeless people they saw in their neighborhoods.
“We realized that something had to be done because so many people were 'falling through the cracks,’” said Claire West Orr, the founder of PATH, and the wife of Rev. Charles Orr, pastor of Westwood Presbyterian Church. “From the very beginning we made two decisions--that people would truly be able to help themselves if we offered ‘A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out,” and we committed to being multi-denominational and community-based.”
And so, in 1984, PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) started with humble beginnings in a basement of a local Westwood church. The Westwood United Methodist Church donated a small office space, and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church hosted PATH’s emergency food and clothing program.
In 2004, PATH reached its twentieth year of existence. From a small program operating out of a church basement, PATH has now become a large regional agency serving over 1,800 people each month. The agency has developed a model of integrated services that communities from all over the state, the nation, and even internationally have looked to for replication.
“PATH’s colorful, eye-catching center, designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Kalban, is a great symbol of its transformation,” states Allan Kingston, CEO of Century Housing Corporation, and a trend-setting leader among L.A.’s non-profits. “The move from its old offices into the new PATH Regional Homeless Center was a metamorphosis from a small agency into a new, largest-in-the-state, active center that meets the needs of even more homeless individuals and families than ever with a comprehensive array of services. It's a great model for the community—and for the nation!”
States Joel John Roberts, “Imagine if more letters like the ones sent out by Claire West Orr over 20 years ago could be sent out to our community, encouraging people to gather together to address the societal issues that challenge this decade. Think of what we could accomplish.”