APPLE VALLEY – Jimmy Waldron Executive Director of High Desert Homeless Services is able to relate to the clients he assists because, he also, at one point, was homeless. Waldron and his young son slept in a truck at the Pilot Truck Stop on CA-395 around 10 years ago until his little boy looked him in the eyes and said he did not want to do that any longer. Waldron because of his love for his son, took the sometimes difficult steps needed to get back on his feet. From client to employee and now executive director, Waldron has earned much respect from his community, his employees and his clients.
High Desert Homeless Services in the City of Victorville provides shelter, clothing, food, personal care items and most important, job search, resume writing, GED preparation and many other programs to help give clients the boost that they need to get back on their feet. “They don’t want to be homeless. They want to get back on their feet,” said Waldron. “They are good people, good families who may just be here due to a loss of income. They use our resource room to find jobs, a place to live, get training and more.”
Clients typically look at a homeless shelter as a last resort, like something bad but soon after entering the doors at High Desert Homeless Services most feel quite different. A warm welcome, compassionate smile, and a safe and clean environment usually make them realize that it is only a stepping stone. Nicole Cerda a former Apple Valley resident found herself in a housing situation that was not working for her, she went to the homeless shelter for help.
“It was a life-changing event. The staff is so friendly and the welcomed me with open arms,” she said, explaining that in the few short weeks she has stayed there she has found two concurrent jobs and is on track for finding an apartment back in Apple Valley soon. Stories like this is why the Town of Apple Valley is happy to support local agencies with funds that assist them each and every year. The grant is called the Town of Apple Valley’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).
These funds come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Apple Valley officials explain the grants as one to provide decent, affordable housing, a suitable living environment and economic opportunities for people with low to moderate incomes. While most of the federal funds are used for residential rehabilitation loans, capital improvements, including parks and streets, and job attraction and creation programs, HUD allows municipalities to distribute a percentage towards grants for local social services, which the Town Council does each year.“The Federal government allows us to use 15% of that funding for local programs and we make sure we use the full amount on projects and agencies that will benefit our residents,” said Mayor Scott Nassif.
“The process to select these nonprofits is highly competitive, and thanks to an evaluation by our Community Development Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and feedback at public hearings, the Town Council is able to designate funds that will help hundreds of Apple Valley residents improve their quality of life,” said Orlando Acevedo, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Housing.
A total of 10 agencies received funding this year. All were on hand for a check presentation ceremony at the August 8 council meeting.
In addition to High Desert Homeless Services, agencies that received funding were:
|Assistance League of Victor Valley||Clothing for school children||$12,500|
|Church for Whosoever||Child literacy center||$4,000|
|Family Assistance Program||Transitional housing||$10,000|
|High Desert Homeless Services||Resources for the homeless||$12,500|
|Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board||Fair housing services||$10,000|
|Lutheran Social Services||Counseling for child abuse victims and their parents/caregivers||$5,000|
|Moses House Ministries/Rose of Sharon||Resources for pregnant or single mothers with kids under 6||$7,500|
|San Bernardino County Library||Adult literacy services||$6,000|
|Victor Valley Community Services Council||Home repairs for seniors||$10,000|
|Victor Valley Domestic Violence||Outreach services/A Better Way shelter||$6,500|
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This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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