The level of intensity, length and whole-family focus of our Family Mentorship Program is unique to Los Angeles and across the nation. The lack of “after care services available to families exiting homelessness after placement in permanent housing means that families often cycle back into homelessness or remain mired in poverty.
Our Family Mentorship Program intervenes at a critical juncture in a family’s journey to self-sufficiency. We match families exiting shelter into their own housing with volunteer mentor teams recruited from businesses, faith communities, companies, and other organizations. Imagine LA’s professional staff train and guide a mentor team and their matched family through our structured, step-by-step one-to-two-year program to assess each family’s need, help them set goals, connect them to resources, help them achieve their goals, and form a community around the family that remains after they graduate from the program. Throughout the one-to-two-year program, mentor teams build trusting relationships and provide weekly one-on-once guidance to each family member on critical life skills.
What is Imagine LA?
Imagine LA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Los Angeles, one family at a time. Housing is a first step, as a home does not prevent chronic poverty and the stresses of daily living, especially for highly vulnerable families. This is where Imagine LA comes in. Our innovative Family Mentorship Program intervenes at a critical juncture in a family’s journey to self-sufficiency.
Imagine LA matches families, as they exit shelters or transitional housing and move into their own housing, with trained volunteer mentor teams recruited from faith communities, companies, and other organizations. Our Family Mentorship Program forms a support system around each family, giving them the foundation they need to succeed. No other organization is Los Angeles serves families this way during this crucial time.
Who Do We Serve?
Imagine LA serves vulnerable families within a 1-mile radius of Hollywood who are highly likely to relapse back into homelessness or continue to live in chronic poverty—and who, after stabilizing for at least six months in transitional housing, a rehabilitation facility or a shelter, are moving into permanent housing. Referrals to our program come from an established network of Family Referral Partners consisting of these shelters and agencies.
Of the families we work with:
- Over 90% are single parent households (84% are single mothers)
- 36% struggle with substance abuse, 45% mental health disorders and 50% domestic violence
- 100 % are below the federal poverty line
- 80% are with English and 20% are with Spanish speaking households
How Does Imagine LA Help?
Imagine LA's innovative Family Mentorship Program matches every family member over age 5 with a one-to-one mentor. Additionally, every family gets a budget mentor, and other volunteers help with tutoring, childcare, meal-planning and more. Imagine LA’s professional staff train and guide the Family Mentor Teams through the program with three main goals for the family: maintain housing, attain self-sufficiency and ensure every member of the family thrives.
Throughout the one-to-two-year program, an Imagine LA Family Team Manager helps the families clarify their goals and access resources, and guides the volunteer mentor teams in providing weekly one-on-one mentoring to each family member to help them achieve their goals. They focus on critical life skills, helping the family access benefits and other health, legal, and social services; providing tutoring; assisting with education and job readiness training and placement; teaching budgeting and financial literacy; developing communication, stress management, crisis response and positive parenting skills; and lending and hand with childcare and nutrition.
What is the Impact?
Since launching our first Family Mentorship Team in 2008, we have worked with 61 families and demonstrated the lasting impact of our mentorship model. Consistently, by program graduation:
- 100% of families maintained their housing
- 100% of children achieved grade level school proficienc with the majority excelling
- 100% of high-school aged youth graduated and pursued higher education
- 100% of adults and children received annual medical and dental exams
- 75% of families increased their household earned income with an average increase of 67%
Adults go from possessing minimal job skills to having viable career path. Kids go from struggling in school to attending college. nd olunteer mentors across the board report truly meaningfu, life-changing experiences as well.
This level of life-changing success is priceless—but Imagine LA's Family Mentorship Program is also provably cost-effective. Imagine LA inves approximately $10,000 per family in program services—preventing repeat family homelessness, which costs from $50,000 to $100,000 per episode, and eeping children out of foster care, which costs more than $20,000 a year per child.
How Can You Help?
There are so many ways you can contribute to Imagine LA:
- DONATE: Whether it’s $5 or $50,000, every donation allows us to serve more families!
- VOLUNTEER: Help our families and organization succee. Join a Faith Partner team or our Junior Board. Help us with office/administrative nee. Assist with a special project or at one of our special events.
- GIVE IN-KIND: Consider donating services and resources – medical, dental, education, employment, legal and financial – to help our families accomplish their goals.
- INTRODUCE US: Know someone who will like what we’re doing? Have a connection that could help us out in some way? Please introduce us.