Lift Up Your Voice to End Homelessness
What is Lift Up Your Voice?
Lift Up Your Voice to End Homelessness (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.
Led by Interim Director, Sue Brinkmeyer, Steering Committee members include Darryl Marquez, Kappy Paulson, Kathy Powell, Nancy Mauthe, Rob Gibson, and Trina Hollander, and many others in Ventura who are committed to Ending Homelessness.
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
Top Priorities for Ending Homelessness
Children and Families 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.
Sleeping in Your Car Should Not Be a Crime
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 15 vehicles in each of two parking lots each night (one of which is 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 homeless persons report being harassed, 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, 2014, Lift Up Your Voice held a call to action, and invited people to experience what it is like to sleep in their car. Click to read the VC Star’s article about it.
What We Believe
- We believe people experiencing homelessness are part of the solution. We believe individuals and families experiencing homelessness – and their circumstances – are not criminal.
- Those experiencing homelessness should not be removed from campsites, or cited for loitering, sleeping in their car or sleeping in a park when the community provides no alternative.
- We believe Ventura has long needed a year round shelter and a major increase in transitional and affordable housing. There are no permanent shelter beds for the combined 300,000 population of Oxnard and Ventura.
- We believe homelessness can be prevented in the City of Ventura.
- We believe homelessness will largely end in the City of Ventura due to strong community leadership and the willingness of the city to dedicate a small fraction of the community’s resources, capability and knowledge to solve this challenge.
Lift Up Your Voice – The Idea
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.
How is Lift Up Your Voice funded?
Multiple source funding includes the McCune Foundation, the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility (UUSR), the UU congregation and gracious private donors.