St. Joseph Health Provides $1 Million to Address Hunger and Homelessness in Local Communities Across California

May 25, 2016, Irvine, CA –St. Joseph Health (SJH) today announced it will provide $1 million in grants to 33 non-profit organizations that help provide basic needs for the hungry and homeless in Orange County, the High Desert communities and Sonoma, Napa and Humboldt counties. 

Reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community is at the core of St. Joseph Health’s values, and this initiative puts those values into action. With every grant initiative, St. Joseph Health partners with non-profit organizations to offer solutions to pressing health concerns among low-income and underserved people. This work is made possible through the commitment of St. Joseph Health’s California hospitals, which each contribute 10 percent of their net income as part of their dedication to creating healthier communities and serving the common good. 

“This commitment to caring for our neighbors is one of the ways we translate our values into action,” said Annette M. Walker, MHA, interim president and CEO, St. Joseph Health. “We want to improve the overall health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve. This initiative is aimed at providing for their most immediate needs, the need for food and the need for shelter. Hunger and homelessness are huge obstacles to health and well-being. We know, for example, that food insecurity is connected with chronic health problems, poor performance in school and higher levels of anxiety.”

More families in California live in poverty or near-poverty than most people think: According to a recent report from the United Way of California, one in three households statewide do not have enough income to meet their basic costs of living. Those struggling families are particularly burdened by high costs for food. Even having two stable, full-time jobs does not guarantee that a family will be able to make ends meet if those jobs pay at or near the minimum wage. 

And hunger in California crosses city and county lines. “Hunger isn’t an issue confined to certain neighborhoods,” said Nicole Suydam, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine, which will use the funds to provide fresh produce to 34,200 people through its Mobile Pantry, School Pantry and Senior Grocery programs. “Many of the people struggling with hunger are hard-working people forced to choose between paying rent and eating. We also see lots of seniors on fixed incomes who can’t afford meals. St. Joseph Health’s support helps us provide nutritious food to these individuals.” 

Other programs that received funding include: 
• Illumination Foundation in north Orange County, which will use the funds from St. Joseph Health to transition homeless families into long-term stability by providing emergency housing and case management/care coordination for 80 clients. 

• Friendship Shelter in south Orange County will use St. Joseph Health funds to provide emergency shelter to 320 people and rehabilitative shelter to 120 people. The organization also will be able to provide supportive housing to 60 people and care coordination for 500 clients. 

• Family Assistance Program in the High Desert, which provides shelter, food and care coordination services for victims of domestic violence. The program will use the funds to provide food and shelter for 250 women and children and case management for 150 women. 

Nineteen programs in Orange County and six in the High Desert received funds, as did eight in Northern California. 

About St. Joseph Health: 
St. Joseph Health (SJH) is a not-for-profit, integrated health care delivery system that includes 16 hospitals, physician organizations, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services and community outreach services. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, SJH remains rooted to the sisters' traditions of assessing a community's needs and adapting strategies to meet those needs. Today, SJH continues its work in the tradition of the sisters through its wide networks of outstanding services. In each region it serves, SJH reaches out to care for the poor and vulnerable, establishing and supporting many programs and services that benefit the community

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