Programs and services that are addressing homelessness and affordable housing across the Central Coast will scale, helping more people chart a path toward economic opportunity with help from multi-year grants from Bank of America. 5Cities Homeless Coalition has been named 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Champions for their work removing economic barriers and advancing economic opportunity.
Through the program, Bank of America empowers nonprofit leaders to address pressing community needs more effectively by providing $50,000 in grants over two years along with leadership development training from experts on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability and strategic storytelling.
San Luis Obispo County has seen an increase in the time people experiencing homelessness were likely to spend on the streets compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 84% of people experiencing homelessness now living on the streets for more than a year, according to a recent 2022 Point-In-Time count. Rising rents and very low vacancy rates, coupled with inflation and the residual effects of the pandemic, are all contributing to an exponential increase in need for housing assistance to both prevent eviction and help those experiencing homelessness obtain stable housing faster.
5Cities Homeless Coalition helps the most vulnerable populations throughout San Luis Obispo County with housing support by coupling targeted case management services and direct financial assistance to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk, ensuring clients don’t fall back into homelessness. The organization has grown exponentially in recent years, becoming a lead organization for homeless services in the county. The grant and leadership training will allow them to continue their rapid growth by developing and scaling new programs.
“Our efforts to help the most vulnerable in our community have safe, reliable housing keeps growing as we’ve taken on additional projects to help hard-to-reach populations, build our referral network and continue our rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention services,” said Janna Nichols, executive director, 5Cities Homeless Coalition. “Bank of America’s Neighborhood Champion grant will enable us to continue to build sustainability and longevity, as we chart our way forward to meet emerging community needs.”
“It’s important that we direct not only capital, but the necessary resources and training to help position these nonprofits and their leadership team for long-term success as they grow strategically and make a positive impact,” said Greg Bland, President, Bank of America San Luis Obispo.
Since 2019 Bank of America has selected as Neighborhood Champions local nonprofits El Camino Homeless Organization, Economic Vitality Corporation, People’s Self Help Housing, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Many Mansions and Women’s Economic Ventures. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Champion honorees.
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