April 12, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Home for the Holidays

9:12 am

By Melanie Camp

9-home-for-the-holidays
Venice stepped up to support the 1st annual Home for the Holidays benefit. Photo by: Rick Swinger.

Venice stepped up to support the 1st annual Home for the Holidays benefit and concert on Sunday night, December 4. The event took place at Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y), 2469 South Lincoln Boulevard in Venice.

All proceeds from the night will help fund the first-ever Miracle Messages Homeless Reunification Program in Venice.

The Miracle Messages program uses to power of social media to reconnect those homeless in Venice with friends and family, get them off the street and home for the holidays.

3-home-for-the-holidays
Volunteers spent two days reaching out to those homeless in Venice. Photo Courtesy: Will Hawkins.

Teaming up with local non-profits, Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y) and St Joseph’s, along with 50 volunteers, the VNC Homeless Committee spent two days reaching out to those homeless in Venice. Volunteers filmed video messages and collected names of friends and family.

Hawkins said videoing the messaging wasn’t as simple as walking up to someone and hitting the record button.

“It’s hard to walk up to strangers at all and just talk to them. It’s hard to walk up to people living this way knowing where you live, and knowing that they know you live that way and try to instantly give them some empathy and understanding that they can react to,” said Hawkins.

Starting a conversation beyond homelessness was an important part of the process. Hawkins said, with each person, he would look at their belongings and try to get a sense of their interests or even find common ground.

2-home-for-the-holidays
The team filmed nearly 30 videos. Photo Courtesy: Will Hawkins.

The team filmed nearly 30 videos. They then got to work scouring social media for the lost connections. Already the team has managed to help one young Venice homeless person reconnect with his mother overseas. She is now planning a trip to Los Angeles, to come and bring him home.

Over the past 2-years, Miracle Messages has managed to connect 90% of people with family members. Resulting in a 40% hit rate, getting people off the street, and back home.

“What’s great about this program is that it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. It’s completely financed by donations,” says Will Hawkins. Hawkins is President of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s (VNC) Homeless Committee.

Fundraising is necessary to help cover travel costs and get those homeless back to the friends or family who can help put a roof over their head.

8-home-for-the-holidays
Singer Maia Sharp supports the cause. Photo by: Rick Swinger.

Sunday night’s benefit drew a big crowd of Venice neighbors. There was live music. Maia Sharp, David Poe, and Kim Michalowski performed. Even Hawkins stepped up on stage and sung.

Although he believes they could help as many as 15 people off the Venice streets this Holiday season, “it’s not going to work if we just come do this once and never do it again,” said Hawkins. What he hopes is, the Miracle Messages Homeless Reunification Program will become an ongoing part of the homelessness solution.

“You don’t have to wait for City Hall to give you money. You don’t have to keep calling your local District and saying ‘help us.’ There are programs available right now,” said Hawkins.

To help support the Miracle Messages Homeless Reunification Program email Hawkins at william.hawkins@venicenc.org.

7-home-for-the-holidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Hawkins belts out a tune. Photo by: Rick Swinger.

Related Posts

Dual Building Development Rises Near Venice High School

April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021

Two-building development underway on Venice Boulevard By Chad Winthrop Work is well underway on a two-building, mixed use development near...

Edify TV: A Look at a Proposed Westside Homeless Shelter Locations

April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021

Take a look at a collection of Westside properties that a LA lawmaker is proposing bringing homeless shelters to in this...

Westside Business Spotlight: The Bike Shop California

April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021

Today on the Westside Business Spotlight we visit The Bike Shop California, your neighborhood spot for all things bike-related.

‘Next-Generation’ Pudding Comes to Venice

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Pudu Pudu opens on Abbot Kinney By Kerry Slater A dessert shop specializing “next-generation” pudding has come to Venice  Pudu...

Venice Beach Handball Courts Set to be Cleared Out

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Due to an encampment at the courts LA City has posted its intent to clear out the area on April...

Food Review: An Almost-Essential Westside Sandwich

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

Johnnie’s french dip pastrami sandwich in Culver City  By Kerry Slater  While there are far better sandwiches in Los Angeles,...

Foster Youth Staffed Cafe Set to Open on First California Shop

April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

La La Land Kind Cafe to open in former Starbucks space  By Toi Creel  A Texas-based cafe that makes an...

Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee’s Annual Commemoration

April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021

Annual event to be held virtually Thursday April 15 Submitted by the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee Standing at...

Davy Jones Liquor Locker Closes Down: YO! Venice Show – April, 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Suspect Arrested with Concealed Pistol Near Boardwalk * Davy Jones Liquor...

Edify TV: Helping Local Cultural, Religious and LGBTQ+ Centers

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

Westside cultural, religious and LGBTQ+ centers stand to benefit from a new fund the City of Los Angeles has created...

New Interactive Map Sheds Light on Venice’s Tsunami Vulnerability

April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021

California Geological Survey’s interactive Tsunami Hazard Area Early Monday morning a 4.0 earthquake occurred near LAX, rattling the Westside. After...

Bonin Proposes Westside Shelters Including in Fisherman’s Village and Pacific Palisades

April 2, 2021

April 2, 2021

Temporary site for tiny-homes or safe camping at Will Rogers State Beach, Fisherman’s Village parking lots? By Sam Catanzaro Councilmember...