2022 Grants Challenge

Food & Shelter with Community Connections

As formerly homeless people are housed, MOW West supports them with our Food & Shelter & Community Connections programs which results in Delivering More Than a Meal. We provide healthy meals, friendly phone calls, home visits and referrals to social services that combine to provide nutrition & stability, which improves physical & mental health. Providing a consistent, healthy diet and increased socialization by meal delivery volunteers and Community Connections volunteer calls helps keep participants housed and healthy


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Housing and Homelessness

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

West LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

“I don’t know what I would do without MOW West. The food and the phone calls mean a lot to me.” Diane, resident at Venice Community Housing. Venice/Santa Monica is an epicenter of homelessness, and the crisis is reducing the quality of life of in all of LA County. While the 2022 LASHA homeless count data is not complete, Santa Monica reports an increase. LA County is reporting a 13% increase since that last count. A threefold increase in this population by 2030 is being forecast. LASHA reports that homelessness in Older Adults increased 20% from 2017 to 2020. 50% site that economic hardship led to their unsheltered experience. COVID resulted in a 71% increase in the number of meals MOW West delivered. From 2019 -2022 the number of formerly unhoused people served increased 76% and continues to grow. 24% of MOW West current clients identify as formerly unhoused. Giving someone keys to an apartment is not enough, they need ongoing support like food, friendship and connection.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

MOW West’s Food & Shelter and Community Connections (CC) programs are critically important in helping vulnerable populations of all ages, especially seniors, remain housed, age in place, and receive nutritious meals while improving health & wellness including mental health. Community Connections phone reassurance calls builds relationships & reduces isolation for meal recipients. Community Connections calls by volunteers monitors health & wellness and results in early interventions, addressing issues before they become urgent or life threatening. Volunteers report through Mon Ami software when a client identifies a need, asks for assistance, or seems to need extra support. MOW West staff follows up. Referrals to other community support services are soft hand offs since MOW West has partnerships with the other agencies. Staff will make home visits and continue to call client to follow up on needs. MOW West utilizes new, innovative Mon Ami software designed to tracks services to seniors. The software protects privacy by shielding phone numbers and last names of both the clients and the volunteers. MonAmi counts calls, home visits and referrals. Volunteers and staff administer client satisfaction survey on a quarterly basis through the software which quickly tallies responses. Providing meals and connections to volunteers increases the chance of formerly unhoused to remain housed and reintegrate into the community.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Food & Shelter are two intertwined aspects of solving the homelessness crisis. Housing First only works if someone is not back on the street holding a sign that reads “Hungry.” MOW West’s delivery of food and friendship is part of the solution to reducing the impact of homelessness on the formerly unhoused. We will continue to serve the currently enrolled clients and hope to expand the number of participants in Food and Shelter by 15% and Community Connections by 20%. Fewer people will be standing on a corner holding a sign that reads “Hungry.” Our aspiration is that the conflict between the unhoused and the residents of Venice, Santa Monica and the surrounding communities will be lessened, as the Food & Shelter/Community Connections participants are provided food and social services. Our programs will help maintain economic, racial and age diversity in gentrifying Venice, Oakwood, and Santa Monica.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

“I don’t know what I would do without Meals on Wheels West. The food and the phone calls mean so much to me. Thank you.” … Mary Lou formerly unhoused person now residing in a Santa Monica Step-up building. One measure of success is the number of people served and the number of meals provided. In FY2021-22 more than 48,000 meals will be provided to formerly unhoused people. More than 212,000 meals will be provided to participants in all our meal programs in 2022-23. Important metrics are number of Community Connections program participants, number of calls, number of referrals and number of home visits. Quarterly client surveys track the percentage of clients that report “The meal deliveries help me remain in my home” is paramount in measuring success. Additional questions include, “Are the delivery volunteer visits are important to you?” and “Are the Community Connections calls are important to you.” Relevant data includes hospital visits & ER visits.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 60