(LUYV) is a grassroots advocacy program founded by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura. We are building a diverse coalition of people from all walks of life who are committed to preventing and ending homelessness while increasing the overall leadership capacity in Ventura. We work with the homeless community, social service organizations, and government officials to ensure that the needs and interests of people experiencing homelessness are not only heard but form the basis of services and policies. We also provide direct support to the homeless community, through our support of programs like Safe Sleep, the Homelessness Prevention Fund, River Haven, Home to Stay, and many others. Our goal is to break open hearts and awaken compassion in all of us for those who do not have a clean and safe place to sleep.
Lift Up Your Voice offers a variety of Action Opportunities for you to get involved with ending homelessness in Ventura. Join with Lift Up Your Voice to End Homelessness of Facebook! For more information on how to get involved, call (805) 644-3898 Ext. 101
At the 2013 Annual Homeless Person's Memorial Service, which remembers all of those who have died while homeless in the past year in our community, Lift Up Your Voice debuted a new Photo/Story project, titled "To Sleep,
Perchance to Dream" telling the stories of families and children who are homeless.
Homelessness for our children and families comes in many different forms. It is estimated that 27 percent of people who experience homelessness in Ventura County do so as a family. For some of these families, that means sleeping in a vehicle in a parking lot or on the side of the road. For some of these families, homelessness means sleeping in motels, or on the couch of a friend or relative. Some homeless families sleep in campsites, while others stay at shelters or transitional housing communities. None of these families have stable permanent housing.
What kind of dreams can a child dream, when they do not know where and how they will sleep each night?
“To Sleep, Perchance to Dream” is a photo project that we hope will open your heart and mind about children and families in our community who experience homelessness. We have endeavored to show the many spaces of childhood homelessness, and to highlight the stories of families that experience homelessness. We invite you to open your heart to each of the 12 exhibits of the project, to the photos of where homeless children in our community sleep, to the art projects that arise from the dreams of these children, to the stories as told to us by the families of these children. The families that have chosen to participate in this project have shown incredible bravery in their willingness to tell their stories.
Lift Up Your Voice to End Homelessness is an Advocacy Ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura. Led by Rev. David Pyle, its Action Team members include Rev. Jan Christian, Sue Brinkmeyer, Kent Brinkmeyer, Harold Dale Cartlidge, Dorothy Fasthorse, Neal Ortenberg, Scott Ellison, and many others in Ventura who are committed to Ending Homelessness. Lift Up Your Voice would like to give special thanks to Community Organizers Amy Luoma and Vincent Velasquez for working with the families who volunteered to participate in this project, and Photographer and Artist Joe Osborne who photographed and designed the photo project. We would also like to thank the Chalice Lighter Fund of the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, who provided the funding to make this project possible.
Every night, many who are homeless in Ventura spend the night sleeping in vehicles across the city and county. This includes many families, as well as those who have recently become homeless. Many of those who sleep in their cars are members of the working poor... they have jobs, they simply cannot afford the high cost of housing in Ventura. Unless they are lucky enough to be accepted into the Safe Sleep Program, which is only allowed to admit 5 vehicles in each of two parking lots each night (one being sponsored by Lift Up Your Voice), those who sleep in their cars in Ventura are breaking an outdated and uncompassionate law when they do so. Police apply the law unequally, ticketing some but not others. Many families and homless persons report being harrassed, and regularly woken up and forced to move their vehicles to other locations.
First, we should End Homelessness in Ventura, so that no one, no women, men, or children should be forced to sleep in their cars in our community. While we are working to meet that goal, the city of Ventura should expand the Safe Sleep program, and should open up several public parking lots to free, overnight parking.
In March, Lift Up Your Voice will hold a call to action, and invite you to experience what it is like to sleep in your car. Check back with the Lift Up Your Voice website for updates as this event develops.
The idea for Lift Up Your Voice came out of our work with the homeless community and our shared frustration regarding community perceptions and stereotypes of homeless individuals as adversaries instead of partners. Lift Up Your Voice expands across many faith and community-based organizations with a growing number of informed and empowered advocates ‘lifting up their voices' which will ultimately be the voice behind Ventura's increased capacity and motivation for social change.
Multiple source funding includes the McCune Foundation, the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility (UUSR), the UU congregation and gracious private donors.