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A Mission of Trust

Go Where Others Don't

The Foundation was created to address the overwhelming demand from @suitcase_joe followers who want to know: How Can I Help?

We thought long and hard about how to answer you, because we don’t want to add to the soul-killing, poverty industrial complex pushing the proverbial homelessness can down the road, toward more and more neighborhoods and communities.

We’ve been collectively chronicling Skid Row for nearly a decade. There are some great programs and extraordinary people who do the day-to-day, year-by-year heavy lifting to help people experiencing homelessness.

We zoned in on the gaps that kept appearing.

We saw an egregious rise of trust issues between some service providers, those being served, and those wanting to help fund services or provide assistance.

$1.2 billion dollars was raised when LA voters elected to increase their own taxes in 2016 to support building homes for the homeless. The Union Mission estimates it will take ten years to build the new housing units promised, at which point 44,000 lives will have been destroyed by living on the street. 

PATTERN OF PROBLEMS
Taxpayers and donors feel shafted. They’re doing their part to chip in. Where are the homes?

People experiencing homelessness feel abandoned, rejected by both the system and society. They live day-to-day, with withering hopes, health and lives. 

Social services, law enforcement, and mental health workers feel overwhelmed by ever increasing numbers of people encountering a limiting, broken path toward sustainable housing.

A pervasive and systemic malfunction of trust exists in homeless services that isn’t being solved by those society has entrusted with their taxes, donations, votes and hope. 

Our intimate, deeply-rooted presence and reputation in Skid Row provides us with authenticity and access to the very heart and soul of the people who live and serve there.

So we hit the ground and perform where we have a lot of expertise: by helping to solve the trust problem first.

We begin by connecting partitioned programs and disparate organizations with solid, impactful ways to help support Skid Row’s most vulnerable people. We start by supporting best in class solutions.

INTERN-BASED 360° WRAPAROUND SUPPORT SERVICES

Wraparound programs greatly improve the odds of accomplishing stable, self-sufficient reentry into housing for people who have been chronically homeless. We know this first hand because we've been an integral part of the successful process more than once. It is a truly heart lifting and life changing experience. We will be calling on interns with creative and artistic skills to help support us so stay tuned.

WOMENS OUTREACH + ADVOCACY

The most vulnerable people in Skid Row are women.

Women experiencing homelessness are more likely to be beaten and sexually assaulted. They're more likely to be suicidal and suffer from several medical conditions, and less likely to live a normal life span. They are the fastest growing population in Skid Row, and, too often, they're paying for their trauma and suffering with their lives.

In addition to vigorously supporting women-focused human services, we advocate to eliminate violent and sexual assault on women experiencing homelessness.

On too many occasions, traumatized women experience a second emotional assault by those enlisted to help her. We will work with and support law enforcement, medical teams and case workers to enact special training for first responders when encountering an unsheltered woman who has been assaulted. 

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY + THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT

A robust behavioral health component is crucial to ending homelessness. We support a powerhouse of mental illness advocacy, bringing together multi-platform service providers working full-tilt to synchronize durable behavioral care systems for individuals. Our aim is to make the biggest impact by reaching people early at the housing application level, rather than at the belated appeal level. We bolster awareness and empower networks committed to therapeutic focus including animal therapy.  

If we can’t identify scalable solutions that meet our standards, with your help, we will create ones that do.

Lastly, what we’ve learned for sure from the people in Skid Row is that though there is urgent suffering and blistering pain, there are also small sunbursts of joy. Those magical, heartrending moments never fail to inspire us to do more to create a joyful, inclusive generation of service where no one is left out or left behind.

Suitcase Joe Foundation harnesses the power of the most creative people, brands and organizations to fight homelessness and save lives. 

We go where others don’t. 

80% of women on Skid Row ended up there because of a divorce or break up. They were kicked out or unable to keep the home they shared. Returning or going to live with relatives or friends wasn’t possible, or resulted in them being exposed to abuse.

DOWNTOWN WOMEN’S CENTER

Climbing out of homelessness is virtually impossible for those without a job. The difficulties of job seeking as a homeless person can be an almost insurmountable barrier to employment.

NATIONAL COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS

The human, social and economic impact of not treating serious mental illness is beyond calculation. An estimated 1/3 of the homeless population in the U.S. are people with untreated serious mental illness.

TREATMENT ADVOCACY CENTER, OFFICE OF RESEARCH + PUBLIC AFFAIRS

ABOUT SUITCASE JOE

The Suitcase Joe Foundation is a 501(c)3, charitable organization. EIN #83-2991037. All contributions are tax deductible. No goods or services will be provided in exchange for your contribution.

We operate as a social purpose enterprise which advocates to eradicate homelessness and poverty, and supports mental health care reforms for Skid Row.

No one at Suitcase Joe Foundation receives any wages or salaries. We invite private sponsorship to cover administrative costs so that 100% of public donations go directly to help people experiencing homelessness and building awareness. Any donation aimed to help us alleviate transaction fees is sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your support!

SUPPORT SUITCASE JOE FOUNDATION

COVID -19 RESPONSE: Social services that closed or were curtailed due to the pandemic hit Skid Row especially hard. The environment is devastating and increasingly unstable. How do you stay safer at home when you have no home to shelter in? Sanitary facilities and supplies dictated as essential by government officials are meager and inadequate. During this crisis, we practice City of LA safety guidelines for essential services providing and delivering basic human necessities. We don't yet know the full ramifications of this global pandemic, but we know this: we maintain our connection of care with Skid Row residents throughout this crisis and remain an empowering platform where their voices are never silenced.

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