Immigration Assistance Fund Opens Doors for LifeSTEPS resident

In May 2021, LifeSTEPS resident Rosa received financial assistance from our Immigration Assistance Fund to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status allowing her to work and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

Thanks to LifeSTEPS’ Immigration Assistance program, Rosa, a single mother of six children and a survivor of domestic violence, recently finished her schooling and received her high school diploma. What’s next for Rosa?  College and then medical school.

“I wanted to work to create a better life for me and my children,” said Rosa. “This funding opened doors for me and will help me become financially independent. With DACA status, I can now apply for financial aid and scholarships for college.”

Rosa and her children love volunteering and participating at LifeSTEPS programs and events at their housing community, especially the after school program (ASP) which four of her children attend. To give back, Rosa plans to volunteer at her local church, help distribute materials to the students in ASP and volunteer at LifeSTEPS events.

Learn more about LifeSTEPS’ Immigration Assistance Fund.

Beth Southorn Named Chair of AASC Board of Directors

The American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC) recently announced that LifeSTEPS Executive Director Beth Southorn will serve as the chair of its Board of Directors.

“I am deeply honored to be selected to lead the AASC Board of Directors,” Southorn said. “I look forward to continued partnership with AASC’s leadership and our committed Board of Directors as we work collectively to advance the interests of the service coordinator profession.”

Southorn has been a leader in the social services field for more than 30 years. As executive director of LifeSTEPS, she has propelled the organization to become one of the premier social services providers in affordable housing, serving 36,000 homes in California.

Southorn succeeds John Diehl, senior advisor at Embrace Living Communities, who served as the chair for six years and will continue to serve as an AASC Board member.

LifeSTEPS Adds Enhanced Care Management (ECM) to its supportive healthcare services portfolio

LifeSTEPS is adding Enhanced Care Management (ECM) to its supportive healthcare services portfolio. Effective January 2022, with the launch of California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), LifeSTEPS will partner with Anthem and the Department of Health Care Services to offer ECM to the highest-need Medi-Cal recipients. LifeSTEPS proudly played a key role in the design of the CalAIM and ECM services, with LifeSTEPS leadership serving on the CalAIM strategic planning group.

“Building on California’s commitment to creating a healthier and more equitable state, LifeSTEPS is excited to add enhanced care management to our portfolio of supportive health care services,” said Bruce Kuban, LifeSTEPS Director of Supportive and Health Services. “This innovative program will change the way public health services are delivered and help address the social determinants of health issues facing our state’s most vulnerable populations.”

Supportive Housing: Providing a Light at the End of the Tunnel

With her infectious smile and upbeat personality, it’s hard to believe the road Melinda* walked to get where she is today.

As a childhood victim of molestation and then a victim of rape at the age of 21, Melinda experienced subsequent struggles with alcoholism due to post traumatic stress disorder. She found herself homeless for three years, battling depression while learning how to cope with her deteriorating mental health. She eventually hit rock bottom, living in her car for more than 11 months on the streets of Los Angeles.

Melinda sought assistance from Augustus Hawkins Family Mental Health Center, where her mental health provider referred her to the Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System which placed her in permanent supportive housing (PSH) at The Florence.

“Melinda’s drive and perseverance to become housed and maintain her housing is an inspiration considering the struggles and barriers she faced throughout her life,” said Taylor, a LifeSTEPS Intensive Case Manager at the Florence. “Like most of our clients, Melinda has worked hard to get to where she is and is already flourishing in independent living with intensive case management services (ICMS).”

After transitioning to PSH, Melinda is doing well. LifeSTEPS’ ICMS provides the stability and community that she needs while supporting her long-term goals of staying housed and sober. Having a roof over her head and a peaceful place to live provide her with a safe and secure environment. She continues to routinely connect with her therapist and psychiatrist at the Department of Mental Health and is thankful for the additional support she receives at The Florence via ICMS.

“My case manager Taylor is here to support me morally, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” said Melinda. “Intensive case management from LifeSTEPS has been phenomenal with strong and attentive services which deliver great support. Taylor is right there to help me whenever I need it.”

Through LifeSTEPS’ ICMS program, Melinda is able to maintain stability and structure in independent living and receive guidance and intervention from Taylor. Since moving into The Florence, she participates in ICMS, attends primary care and mental health appointments, pays her rent on-time, and keeps up with reoccurring bills.

“Melinda’s resiliency to hardships and obstacles throughout her life bring perspective to the ongoing fight that many clients have faced to reach permanent supportive housing. Her story is an inspiration that adds to the many reasons I choose to be in this line of work, to foster the resiliency and perseverance our clients already hold,” said Taylor.

Thanks to the partnership between AMCAL and LifeSTEPS, Melinda is a productive member of her housing community. She is quick to proactively reach out for additional support from Taylor when needed, keeping additional challenges at bay. To give back to the community, Melinda helps bag and distribute food to individuals experiencing homelessness at Mount Hebron.  “I’m grateful that the Lord has blessed me to share my struggles and show others experiencing homeless that there is a brighter day and light at the end of the tunnel,” said Melinda.

“Melinda is a strong, brave, and beautiful woman who uses her struggles to uplift and help others fighting the same fight that she has faced before,” said Taylor. “Despite her traumatic childhood and early adulthood, she always comes into my office with a bright and encouraging smile.”

*Name changed