May 18, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Celebrates Homelessness Recovery at Success Breakfast:

Not all stories of the homeless are stories of hopelessness. Celebrating Success honors those individuals who, with the help of local nonprofit agencies, have worked their way out of their plight into new and constructive lives. Twenty-five such individuals are being honored at this year’s Celebrating Success Breakfast, Friday October 29 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

The event, hosted by Jean Martirez of Fox 11 Morning News, is presented by the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition (WSHC), a group of more than 30 social service providers, faith congregations, charities, and other organizations that provide services for the homeless. These services range from offering temporary shelter from cold weather to helping people find jobs and apartments to counseling and health care.

Celebrating Success will also be honoring 13 local businesses and organizations who have donated resources to the member agencies of WSHC. In addition, the Santa Monica Hospitality Industry and Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau will be receiving the 2010 WSHC Partnership Award.

John Maceri, Executive Director of OPCC (Ocean Park Community Center), one of the homeless services providers and a member of the coalition, is the chair of WSHC. “It’s the oldest coalition still in operation in Los Angeles County, for 30 years now,” says Maceri. “And this is our 15th year of holding Celebrating Success.

“We really thought [Celebrating Success] is a good way to educate the community and really put a face on homelessness. Homeless people are as varied as any other kind of people. This is a way of celebrating the achievements of these remarkable individuals in overcoming pretty challenging circumstances.”

Maceri notes that the economic downturn of the last few years has made it more difficult for people to make ends meet. “We’re seeing more and more of… the working poor living paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t take very much – it can be a divorce, a death in the family, illness, to cause a downward spiral-very difficult to come out of.” And unlike those people who are used to being down and out, the “invisible homeless” as Maceri calls them, often are afraid to ask for help.

Barrett Grayson, who will be recognized through the CLARE Foundation, explains that he was “a normal person with a college degree,” who had a job, paid his bills, and lived in a nice apartment-until he received an eviction notice.

“I became homeless because I lost all responsibility and lived in a state of denial,” Grayson continues. “I missed countless opportunities to succeed because I was proud.” After five years of hard living, he finally turned to CLARE for help. Thanks to the assistance he received, Grayson now works at two restaurants and volunteers at CLARE.

Jill Bordeau, recognized by OPCC Turning Point. She said she became homeless in 2007 and refused help for a long time but eventually sought shelter from cold nights at Daybreak. She began receiving services from OPCC Access Center in January 2009. Referred to Samoshel, and then to Turning Point, she eventually was able to move into an apartment of her own.

“The community-style living at Samoshel and Turning Point helped me learn to live and get along with others. Seeing the behaviors of the other guests opened my eyes to some of the behavior I exhibited in the past,” Bordeau said.

Grayson, Bordeau, and the other honorees will be speaking about their experiences at the breakfast. Each of the 25 honorees represents one of the social service providers and will be recognized by that provider.

For information call 310.314.0071 or email: info@westsideshelter.org.

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