The mission of Harbor Interfaith Services is to empower the homeless and working poor to achieve self-sufficiency by providing support services including shelter, transitional housing, food, job placement, advocacy, childcare, education, and life-skills training.
Now celebrating its 41st year, Harbor Interfaith is the result of a 1987 merger between two San Pedro organizations: FISH, The Emergency Food Pantry and Advocacy Center (1975); and Harbor Interfaith Shelter (1983). The unification integrated the delivery of the most fundamental human services–nutrition and shelter–and enabled clients to be treated holistically. This historic structure also provided a base from which the agency flourished. FISH inspired various community-wide education/outreach initiatives, and the Shelter became the wellspring for residential services, particularly those designed for homeless women with children. Subsequent early childhood and after school education programs yielded a comprehensive and advanced menu of services.
Each year, our 90-day emergency shelter and 18-month transitional housing program provide residence and support (including childcare) to approximately 450 people. The Family Resource Center (FRC) extends aid in virtually all areas: free groceries, clothing and hygiene items; rental/utility assistance; case management and individualized referrals; access to medical and dental services; and enrollment in 14 benefit programs. Last year, 31,000 services were provided to 10,400 people.
Both social and community service are built into FRC operations. Many nonprofit groups utilize (free of charge) its third-story board room and balcony–with an impressive “runway” view of the Port– for their meetings. The San Pedro Garden Club tends to the drought-resistant landscaping outside. As a result of these and other connections, hundreds of volunteers regularly staff the food pantry, clothing closet, and distribute food and toys to our clients during the holidays. Over 50 additional community organizations–from Girl Scout troops to synagogues–give money, donate food and clothing, and have representatives on our board.
Harbor Interfaith serves the South Bay of Los Angeles County, Service Planning Area 8.