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MEND was started in 1971 by a young couple, Ed & Carolyn Rose, who were motivated by the poverty they witnessed in the Valley to do something about it. They set about persuading others – primarily members of their congregation at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church - to help them collect and distribute food, clothing and furniture to poor families in the community. For years, the Roses were joined by several other families to serve the neediest people in the community, under the name they had started calling themselves: MEND – Meet Each Need with Dignity.
In 1976 they formalized their activities into a non-profit organization and in the mid-80s MEND established operations in Pacoima, where it continues to provide food, clothing, one-on-one case management and support services to low-income individuals and families. For nearly 50 years, MEND has continuously served the most vulnerable in our community, including those who are homeless, unemployed/under-employed, very low income, and older adults.
MEND’s programs serve two ends: to meet the immediate basic needs of people, and to help them build resources and skills to address and overcome long-term challenges that have kept them from thriving. Core services are provided by the Foodbank, Homeless Care Services and Clothing Center.
Deeper case managed services are offered through the Family Support & Pathways to Wellness Programs. Finally, we provide work experience, life skills and financial literacy classes and support services to enrolled clients.
A majority of the individuals and families who come to MEND live in extreme poverty – some in unconverted garages, uninhabitable spaces, or vehicles. Still others live in apartments with multiple other families – one family per bedroom. Some are able to secure transitional housing or stay in a shelter, still others are completely unsheltered.
Applying the Public Health Service Act and HUD’s definitions of homelessness – which include lacking any fixed, stable shelter; living in conditions not fit for human habitation; and “doubling up” – almost 100% of our clients qualify as homeless.