RALPH BEASOM reported that we had no Visiting Rotarians but SHARON jumped up to point out that our Speaker, Janet Ganaway, is a member of LA 5! As usual, there were several guests. LILLIAN KLIEWER brought a likely Special Guest, George Nordhouse, who is a close neighbor, living next door to UCLA. Loretta Hooper, ANN SAMSON’S new Executive Assistant, was introduced next.. DON NELSON asked Peter Tomarken to stand he is in the Real Estate field. At this point, I must report that the meeting almost ended the proximate cause was MIKE’S announcement that no photo was submitted, so we would be without Rudy’s World! However, we regrouped. DON NELSON pointed out that we still have a few tickets left for the Hollywood Bowl, the date being July 31st - it’s complete with fireworks, the price is $25.00, and Guin LYSTER is the contact. We also received formal invitations to the Nelson Round-Up, which will take place on Saturday, August 20th, at DON and ROZ NELSON’S, 147 Granville Avenue in Brentwood. Limited to sixty buckaroos, so get your reservation in SOON! At this point, PP STEVE SCHERER rose to make a motion for a Performance Award, to be presented to ROZ NELSON for her flawless rendition during the Demotion for Senor RUDY. This was enthusiastically accepted by the entire audience.
CANDICE DENESHVAR and TORI HETTINGER next rose to wind up the Rotaract Program for this year. To top everything off, our Rotaract Club was voted the outstanding Rotaract Club in the District. TORI proceeded to list the many, many accomplishments of Rotaract during this year. My name was called, and I was presented with a lovely photo, and a CD for my really very minor assistance in putting together the Suds and Studs program with Fire Station #37.
I should report there were several comments made as I came forward, but I’m sure they were all complimentary, so I needn’t record them here. PP PETER MORE, who was unable to attend, was recognized for donating frequent flyer miles. Their final presentation was to CATHY REZOS, who could not attend today they presented her with a Paul Harris Pin, in recognition of the leadership and encouragement she provided throughout the year.
Their final presentation was to PP GEORGE DEA. The first Annual Rotaract Scholarship will be presented in his name, in recognition of his continuing support and encouragement over several years. GEORGE is an example to all of us, and it was special to have him named for this honor. He was presented with a clock, engraved by Rotaract, which will serve as a permanent reminder of his many contributions to their program. TORI then pinned CANDICE with the President’s Pin, in recognition of her role as next year’s Rotaract President.
RALPH BEASOM came forward, to announce the Rotarian of the Year. This selection, as you probably know, is made by the five immediate past Rotarians of the Year, and part of the fun is trying to disguise who the designee may be. However, this person usually figures it out quite early, and when he saw Marcia in the audience, it confirmed his suppositions. RALPH began by pointing out that this year’s Awardee was born in California but there are quite a few of us in this category. His family moved east when he was a teenager but he returned to California to study accounting at Cal State Northridge.
Probably his most memorable role was his depiction of “Igor” which he has reprised a number of times. This, of course, was the final giveaway, and many comments were forthcoming from the audience. He joined Rotary in 1991, and shortly afterward he and an optometrist traveled to Ghana to participate in a visual aids program. He chaired all the major committees of the WVRC, and was elected President in 1996-97. He became the ongoing Chair of the Rotary Foundation for Westwood, a position he still holds. RALPH noted that at the recent Chicago Convention, he became the Official Baggage Handler for PP RON LYSTER! At this point, STEVE DAY was formally announced, and received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Our Speaker, Janet Denise Ganaway, is the CEO of PATH, headquartered at 340 N. Madison Avenue, LA 90004 (323) 644-2202. PDG ANDY ANDERSON provided her introduction, noting that PATH was founded in 1984 in WLA, through a coalition of churches, synagogues and community leaders. They were seeking a solution to the growing problem of homelessness, and were determined to offer people a hand up, rather than a hand out. Denise came aboard in 1998, and under her leadership PATH has become a Regional Agency serving the homeless all over Los Angeles She has developed collaborative arrangements with many nearby cities Inglewood, Hawthorne, and Culver City, and of course the many government agencies serving these areas.
Janet began by talking about the Seven Way Test and I finally figured out this was based on our existing Four Way Test, plus three new - and important additions. They are, did you feed me when I was hungry? Did you clothe me when I was naked? Did you love me when I wasn’t at my best? These are at the very heart of the PATH program, and they are telling and difficult questions which must be answered.
Their first facility was in WLA across from the Smart and Final store, just off Pico and it provides 32 beds. It has now grown into an agency that provides over 200 beds, over greater Los Angeles. They now have a 98 bed center, essentially for families, plus another 65 beds for the chronically homeless. Alongside this is a PATH Mall model gathering TWENTY social service agencies in one place. This makes it possible for applicants to present their needs to many related agencies, without traveling all over LA to get help. This provides user-friendly services in an uplifting environment. It also integrates supportive services. Some of the agencies which are present provide legal assistance, substance abuse rehab, mental health services, a working jobs program, and a medical clinic. By being in one central location, coordinated case management among service can be provided, plus computerized, coordinated tracking systems. These malls must be located near public transportation, and they are directly linked to housing.
The Target Population for this Mall is divided into three populations. First are those who are at risk of being homeless (they may have lost their present permanent residence). Next are the Homeless, who have no permanent residence. And then there are those who are no longer homeless, living in permanent residences, but who still need supportive services. The thing that sets this mall apart is that those who patronize it are not shopping for goods, but for services. The traditional approach at the Mall starts with Outreach, then to Intake/Assessment/Referral, next to Emergency housing, hopefully then to transitional housing, and finally to permanent housing.
A recent LA Times article reported there are 90,000 homeless people on the street every night in Los Angeles. There are only 14,000 beds available. This shortfall of over 75,000 beds is not defensible. It certainly shouldn’t be happening in the richest country in the world, in one of the richest cities in the world. To name some other cities, as a comparison, we in Los Angeles devote less of a percentage of our budget to the homeless than they do in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Janet gave an example of empowerment. She had ordered a new bedroom set from J.C. Penney, and was waiting for it to be delivered. It finally arrived at 9 pm, three hours after it was expected but who should be doing the job but a former client, Alvin. He had started the delivery business while he still had a huge head of hair. He refused to cut his hair but after so many refusals, he began to pray. The message that came back was, “Cut Your Hair”. Once he did, his business took off. Appearances do matter.
Q&A DON NELSON, I’ve heard that some of the homeless desire to remain homeless. There are individuals out there who have mental health issues, and they do refuse to join any organized program. Someone asked if it was true that 40% of the homeless are women and children. Yes, that’s true. Do you provide help for those with HIV. Yes, we have been providing HIV services for quite some time. What is the average length of stay in your facilities. Each facility is different, but the average is 90 days. Hollywood averages six months, because the problems are more complex. Do you have a policy on drinking. Yes, but in our Hollywood facilities, the rules are more relaxed. What percentage have mental problems. About 35% at present. Thank you, Janet Ganaway, for a most interesting program.
CANDICE gave the Toast, which mainly came from Longfellow. Go forth to meet the future we don’t know what path our lives will take.