Jeff Culbertson, President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Los Angeles Company and Executive Vice President of NRT’s Southwest Region
Typically, the holidays are a joyous time spent with our families in the warmth of our homes. For the homeless, however, the holidays are anything but joyous. When I look at the statistics in Southern California, it’s staggering. Did you know that over 51,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles on any given night? One in five children also live under the poverty level. In Ventura County, there are more than 1,800 homeless people on the streets on any given night. Further north in Santa Barbara County, there are approximately 6,250 people experiencing homelessness. These numbers are enough to make all of us stop and think about the ways in which we are giving during the holidays.
Because Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has made a tradition out of placing people in homes, we feel a great sense of responsibility to help those in need during the holidays. Each year, our Community Foundation of Greater Los Angeles embarks on a December Giving Campaign, where our branch offices in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties collect donations from our sales associates, staff and affiliates. Many of our sales associates will also be volunteering at these organizations during the holidays.
“The Coldwell Banker Community Foundation is proud to support local homeless charities in the Los Angeles area,” said Lori Ramirez, branch manager of the Los Feliz office and current chair of the Coldwell Banker Greater Los Angeles Community Foundation. “Some of these charities include Passageways, St Joseph’s Center for the Homeless, My Friend’s Place and Harbor Interfaith. At this time of year, there are so many folks in need of our support and assistance. Everyone is entitled to a warm, safe home, and our goal is to support people in need.”
Many charities are currently in need of monetary donations and donated goods during the holidays. At Passageways, an intake center serving Pasadena’s homeless services network, they need basic items such as socks, underwear, toiletries and motel vouchers. A fund for bus tokens is also needed to link people to resources in the community. The Giving Spirit, a Los Angeles-based non-profit, is still $150,000 short of the funds needed to build the survival kits that will reach approximately 2,750 homeless men, women and children in need throughout greater Los Angeles this winter.
“The winter is the time of year our homeless friends in L.A. need the help of organizations like The Giving Spirit the most,” said Jim Underwood, development chair for The Giving Spirit. “We are always in need of items like clothing, blankets and food, but we are desperately trying to close the gap to achieve our $220,000 fundraising goal this year.”
I know these stories are not isolated cases. Many other homeless charities throughout Southern California need our help this holiday season. I invite our View readers to join us in bringing a little joy to the homeless men, women and children in our communities. To find out how you can help, we have listed several charities on our blog. From the Coldwell Banker family to yours … Happy Holidays.