2016 Grants Challenge

Volunteer and be a Part of the Solution to Family Homelessness

Idea by Imagine LA

Imagine LA recruits and trains volunteers across LA County to mentor formerly homeless families to break their cycle of poverty and to ultimately thrive.


Please describe your project proposal.

Imagine LA has built an innovative Family Empowerment and Mentorship model that helps families exit homelessness and thrive. Our model creates a safe place to connect, engage, and empower people from different ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. In order to expand and work with 100 families in 2017, we need volunteers.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your proposal impact?​

Social & emotional support

Rates of volunteerism

Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located within a half-mile of transit)

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to CONNECT?

According to polls, the largest issue currently plaguing LA is homelessness. Our project answers the question, “How can I personally be involved and help solve this issue?”

Our Family Empowerment and Mentorship model connects volunteers and formerly homeless families to build relationships, and solid foundations of skills and knowledge. Imagine LA’s professional staff of Family Team Managers work with families to set goals, access private and public resources, and guides volunteers to offer one-on-one mentorship to each member of the family.

Volunteer mentors receive training and are coached to provide one-on-one mentorship in areas such as budgeting, tutoring, career development, school support, wellness and more. Our model creates a safe place to connect, engage, and empower people from different ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The connections between the families and volunteer mentors have a profound impact:

* 100% of graduated families maintain housing - eliminating the cycle (and costs) of repeat homelessness. One episode of homelessness can the cost of family homelessness on society can range from $49,604 to $169,4311 per year (Berger Institute, 2013).

* Parents are on career paths and are able to increase their incomes. On average Imagine LA families increase their earned income by 162%!

* Families learn positive parenting skills and are able to provide stable homes, which reduces the likelihood (and costs) of a child being placed in foster care. One child in foster care costs nearly $30,000 annually.

* 100% of youth participants are on track to finish high school and attend college or trade tech (our first family’s eldest son raised by a single mother graduated from Sacramento State University this past June).

Through the support of LA2050, Imagine LA will supercharge its volunteer recruitment efforts through the creation of an impelling standalone video, volunteer mobile app, and savvy staff to execute our communications strategy. This will help us achieve our 2017 goal to work with 75-100 families and recruit, train and guide 400+ volunteers.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Our project success will be measured by systematically tracking and utilizing qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of the Family Empowerment and Mentorship model on both the families and volunteers. Below are our major impact assessment tools and processes that we track in our SalesForce database.

1. We track the following data for volunteers:

a. Number of volunteers engaged in program and attendance of alumni activities

b. The recruitment status of where participants are in the process (ie. waitlist, matched, graduated) and overall case progress

c. Demographics for all volunteers (age, race, location, education)

d. How did volunteers hear about us?

e. Satisfaction Surveys: We administer biannual surveys to volunteer mentors, to better understand what's working as well as opportunities for improvement.

2. We track the following data for family performance:

a. Qualitative Data: tracks eight key areas of each family’s life, including: Internal Relationships, Financial Literacy, Adult Education, Youth Education, Health and External Relationships. Each area is scored from “Vulnerable” to “Thriving.” This Performance Measurement Matrix allows staff, mentors, and families to track progress over time.

b. Quantitative Data: tracks Income (earned and entitlement), Adult Education, Youth Grades, Child ASQ Scores, Debt and Savings. This data, along with housing status is also tracked for alumni.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members


Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)

Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support