A Message from Lutheran Social Services
by Kathye Hamm
Martin Luther believed that God does not not need our good works, but that our neighbor does. Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Northern California traces its roots in offering a hand up to our neighbors to 1883 in San Francisco. However it was 50 years ago that two Lutheran social service agencies merged to create the LSS of today. Over the decades, LSS has provided a wide range of services including advocacy, child and substance abuse prevention training, and supportive housing services.
LSS of Northern California is also an affiliate of Lutheran Disaster Response providing short- and long-term assistance to those affected by nautral. Thanks to the generosity of congregations and individual donors, LSS raised more than $20,000 in response to this year’s wildfires in Northern California and distributed $8,000 worth of $100 Wells Fargo VISA cards to provide for the immediate needs of those affected. The remaining funds are supporting long-term recovery needs.
Today our main focus at LSS is helping formerly homeless individuals rebuild their lives. Each day we assist more than 3,600 youth, adults, seniors, and families daily in overcoming issues that contributed to their past homelessless: time in foster care, chronic illness, unemployment, mental health issues, addiction and surviving a disaster, such as the wildfires that have ravaged Northern California. Our 25 supportive housing programs are currently located in Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Joaquin counties, although our service region spans from San Luis Obispo to the Oregon border.
Thanks to support from congregations and individuals, LSS has been able to make a difference in the lives of young women and men who are at risk of homelessness, such as Jayde, who was barely 18, staying with friends here and there but had no place to call home. Known as couch surfing, this lifestyle often ends in homelessness, especially for youth who have left the foster care system and have limited education, no job skills, and no family to guide them through this difficult life transition. Donations to LSS of Northern California prevented Jayde from living on the streets or in a shelter. This support also allowed her the opportunity to heal and grow after years of neglect and abuse by her parents, who struggled with addiction and mental health issues.
Today Jayde, 23, shares an apartment with her fiancé, works full-time and attends college. She wants to pursue teaching at the high school level and try her hand at writing a novel. She has reunited with her siblings and is trying to rebuild relationships with her parents. She believes that the compassionate guidance and assistance she received from LSS and its supporters contributed to her successful journey.
The call to care for all people is as relevant today as it was 500 years ago—and will remain relevant in the years ahead as we work together to alleviate the complex problems that contribute to homelessness. We appreciate all you have done to help us in this work. You can learn more about our work to end homelessness and how you can make a profound difference in the life of a formerly homeless individual by visiting our website. You can also follow us on your social media of choice.
Carol Roberts, Ph.D.
CEO, LSS of Northern California
November 20, 2018
November 13, 2018
October 31, 2018