Economists report that for a healthy economy, people should spend no more than 30% of their income on housing. The median income in the San Bernardino County is about $68,000. This means, the average family in our county should be spending about $1,700 per month on housing. In case you have not looked lately, there are no houses for rent in the High Desert for that price. This means that more than half of the people in our county cannot afford to rent a house in our county. Where are they supposed to live?
Most people are spending over 50% of their income, and many are spending closer to 75% of their income on housing. This is why so many people are relying on food banks to feed their families. Economists tell us that this is not healthy nor sustainable. These types of challenges are a direct contributor to homelessness and other problems. If a family has little to no discretionary income, their children cannot participate in sports or after school activities. The family cannot attend events in the community. A simple financial setback like an illness or vehicle problem could take years to recover.
A group of leaders in our county have come together to work towards increasing the affordable housing in the High Desert. This cannot be done by a few people. We need citizens to tell their elected officials that this is important to them. We need to welcome apartments and condominiums as a positive alternative. We need to welcome smaller lot sizes and higher density. We need to care about our neighbors enough to see through the fear mongering that higher density creates crime. Together, we can solve this problem, but only if we see our struggling neighbors who are struggling with housing as our friends, people worthy of respect and dignity.
We finalized our 40-hour domestic violence advocacy training and certified forty-one participants. We have received feedback from participants and look forward to havING our second English training in October. Fourteen class participants completed parenting and anger management classes and received their certificate of completion.
The Community Center participated in National Night Out in Apple Valley. Jobi set up a booth and passed out resources to the community and answered questions about our services.
We are also working with ROOT and planning the Old Town Victorville Street Fair series. The Street Fair starts back on Saturday, September 18th 2pm – 6pm, located on 7th Street from B to C Streets. There will be food, art, shopping, music, and more. We look forward to finally have the community together once again. Hope to see you all there!
Staff at Hope House participated at National Night Out for the City of Hesperia on August 3rd. Ana and Michele set the table up. Lori and Tracey came out to help when the event began. National Night Out is an awareness raising event held the first Tuesday of August. each year The event is a Community Building Campaign promoting police-community partnerships and camaraderie. Family Assistance Program has been part of this event for several years. It is always wonderful to see the community come together.
The staff attending shared information of all the programs Family Assistance Program offers. Many were unaware of them and were eager to get more information. Michele and Ana explained what each program does, how to get a restraining order, and about our emergency shelters. Many asked the cost for services and were impressed when they were told services were free.
It was encouraging to finally have events in person and to see so many of the residents come out. The Star Wars Storm Troopers and Sheriff Department’s Search and Rescue Team were out. The children were able to explore fire trucks and enjoyed a pony that was walking about.
Michele and Ana would like to give kudos Lori R and Tracey for showing up for support after they had worked all day and we would like to give Lori K kudos for taking their shift so they could attend. Kudos to Margarita for helping get the candy and the other giveaways together for the event. Our team does well working together to get more information about our programs out to the community.
The Open Door has officially moved! Our new address is 1255 East Highland Avenue Suite 210 San Bernardino California 92404. We also now have an office phone where we can receive calls , our new number is 909-352-2525. This new move has been exciting, it allows us to have new opportunities in this bigger building with more space to provide services to our participants. The Open-Door Staff is ready to grow and prosper into something better than ever before.
We hope to be securing a booth at the celebratory event “Women’s Freedom Festival” in support of women surviving through incarceration, domestic violence, sex trafficking, poverty, addiction, and homelessness. Our booth will provide information, resources, raffles, promotional products, and more.
Our Case Manager spent hours with participants at the Dometic Violence Advocacy training sponsored by Family Assistance Program at the Community Center, supporting, providing resources and tools. We have received excellent feedback from our participants via surveys, which are done every other week.
Our weekly group meeting at the shelter house included Carolina, Family Assistance Program’s new Health Navigator. Discussing mental health was very much appreciated by the participants.
At our shelter, two new intakes not only found a supportive friendship but supported each other in obtaining full-time employment locally at the same restaurant within the same time period. They are supporting each other to complete their programming right on schedule, as well.
A participant recently completed a Construction Apprentice program at Victor Valley College and has enrolled for more college classes to make herself more competitive in the job market. Not only is she pursuing her educational goals but she is also working part-time as a phone sales representative.
This month at Next Step Morongo Basin we have been working on building stronger professional relationships and collaborative services with our community partners here in the basin. Since the start of the pandemic more stress has been placed on individuals with mental health, behavioral health, and overall physical health. Clients are struggling with day to day self care and hygiene more than ever. We are working closely with community partners linking and empowering our participants to services they are requiring.
Now, that more local business and events have been opening back up we have been planning more weekly trips to the local Famers Market and near by Art Gallery.
We have been busy here at My Place. With school starting up again in the High Desert we have been getting our clients ready for the upcoming school year. When not preparing our clients for success at school we have been doing outreach at a local skate park. It is always great to be able to reach out to the community where they are and we find local youth hanging out at our local skateparks.
I am Dustin Mohammed, the Youth Program Administrator for Family Assistance Program in the High Desert. I am most proud to share updates on what’s to come at the FAM SPOT for the upcoming month of August. It gives me great excitement to inform everyone that we have implemented a system in which the youth advocates assess the youth’s area of academic struggles. Using this information, we then create a file that is specific to the youth for the purpose of assisting and encouraging improvement. Although we are constantly improving our methods, we have seen significant improvements in our clients reading, writing, and math. We have also made conscious adjustments regarding our staff’s approach for the purpose of adjusting the youth’s disposition towards school. Often, we see that when the term math or books are mentioned to the youth it becomes an automatic resistance. With this understanding we certainly notice the importance of positive encouragement.
Additionally, FAM SPOT has taken two days out of every week this month to spend a few hours having open discussions with the youth on the importance of a proper diet. Statistics show that diet plays a pivotal role in brain and physical development. Without a proper diet we cannot focus on enhancing the youth’s education. Allowing the youth to vent by way of open group discussion prepares them to understand what it means to express one’s opinions, belief, and understandings by way of dialogue. Respecting other viewpoints and space is something that we place a heavy emphasis on.
At Our House, we are working with School on Wheels to get school supplies and backpacks for our youth, as in-person school is quickly approaching. Also, we had been working with a youth for several months that had very limited options but expressed interest in reuniting with the birth mother in Texas. The youth was able to reunify with the mother and called later in the month to tell us she is doing well. The client expressed her gratitude for the help she received at Our House. Way to go team!
Open Arms just kicked off a new group called “Identifying External Triggers” which will be held at the youth drop-in center located at 323 7th Street San Bernardino from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm on Wednesdays and on Saturday August 21, from 1 pm – 2 pm. Outreach continues, and we are successfully making contacts in our community. We are also pleased to announce that the cooperation of clients in the Transitional Age Youth houses has improved quite substantially. Open Arms has been building its capacity and strengthening the development and collaboration of our staff!
With Family Assistance Program participating in the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, we are able to provide hope to families heavily impacted by the pandemic. Qualifying renters and landlords are now eligible for 100% of rent and utilities owed. We have assisted average families, small business owners, and even our employees to fill out the application. We are continuing to fulfill our roll of assisting families within our program. Click the link below to apply for rental or utility assistance:
Family Assistance Program envisions a community where each person has a loving, nurturing home life. We provide the tools necessary to create healthy interpersonal relationships, economic empowerment, and stable housing.