Frequently Asked Questions

HOMELESSNESS —————————————————————————————————
Why was there an increase in homelessness this year? The answer is in two parts:  The homeless count, made by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), was better-conducted as opposed to 2015 when it became an annual count. This time, for example, it included homeless youth.  But they only account for a small portion of the increase.  The increase was mostly due to the tight housing market.  The average rent in the county is $2,100, equal to half a year’s pay for the average low income workers.  Hundreds of thousands can’t afford that amount.  There is also a low rental vacancy rate.  According to Zillow.com, the vacancy rate in the region was 4.3%, which is half the national average.
Why do I see so many homeless people around, especially in groups on sidewalks and in the parks? There are two parts to this answer.  The first is that there are more homeless on the streets because of the high cost of housing and the low vacancy rates.  The second reason is vulnerability.  The homeless are often victims of violence, which includes theft, beatings, and shootings.  Recently, a homeless person was set on fire in the South Bay.  The homeless feel safer in groups.
What is Harbor Interfaith Services doing to eliminate homeless from the streets? It is our goal (and the County’s) to lift the poor to self-sufficiency and to place them in permanent housing.  We’ve been doing that for 41 years.  Last year, alone, we placed 426 people in housing and have seen success.  Homelessness among veterans and families has dropped, for example.  Harbor Interfaith Services works to end homelessness by providing support services including shelter, transitional housing, food, job placement, advocacy, childcare, education, and life-skills training.
Is Harbor Interfaith Services affiliated with a religion? No.  Harbor Interfaith Services is a nonprofit, secular institution.  Some of our early founders included local churches, thus the name, but there is no religious affiliation.
How is Harbor Interfaith Services funded? Harbor Interfaith Services is funded by a mix of government funds, foundation support, and contributions from individuals, groups, and faith organizations.
How can I help? You can help by donating cash, goods, or time.  You can make a gift by going online to our website, www.HarborInterfaith.org, and clicking the Donate Now button.  You can also engage your friends, community groups, and religious organizations to do the same.  If you’d like to donate food for the pantry, clothes for the Clothing Closet, or hygiene items, please check our website for a list of needs, or call 310-831-0603 x226.  You can also call that number to volunteer time.  A list of volunteer opportunities is on the website.
Can I donate furniture? Periodically, families need furniture when we place them into housing.  We would love to accept your furniture but we can only do so if we have identified a new home for a client or have a family with an immediate need.  Before donating furniture, please call the Family Resource Center at 310-831-0603 to determine if there is a need.
INVOLVING CHILDREN —————————————————————————————–
Can I enroll my child in your childcare center? The Center was established to provide low-cost childcare and preschool education for children ages 6 weeks through school-age for families receiving services from Harbor Interfaith.  The Center also has a limited number of slots open to the general public at full price, which is $132 per week, per child, full time. (Rate effective 7.19.16).
Can my child volunteer with me? We love to have children volunteering.