Community Services Agency

Rating: 4.54 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Food, Human Services

Location: 204 Stierlin Rd Mountain View CA 94043 USA

Mission: We are the community’s safety-net, providing critical support services that preserve and promote stability, self-reliance. and dignity.
Results: EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE THE NEED: Nowhere is it probably more difficult and challenging to be poor than in Silicon Valley. Thousands of people live in poverty even though they earn more than the official 2008 federal poverty level ($17,600 for a family of three) or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) level ($28,650). The “self-sufficiency standard,” which measures how much income is needed for that family of three to adequately meet their basic needs without subsidies of any kind in Santa Clara County, is $65,598.  Yet, almost 30% of the new jobs created in Silicon Valley pay less than $30,000. If you are poor in Silicon Valley you are really poor. A SOLUTION: The purpose of our Emergency Assistance Program is to provide safety-net assistance and services for low-income individuals and families with a financial emergency to stabilize their situations and prevent any further financial erosion or downward spiral in their lives. The program encourages and supports self-sufficiency of the working poor, elderly, and/or homeless in Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. • Financial assistance is available for rent, utility, housing, dental care, and eye exams. • Back-to-School assistance in the form of backpacks and school supplies are provided for grades K-12. • Our Food & Nutrition Center provides essential and basic food items to minimize food insecurity for low-income individuals and families. • Our Holiday Sharing program engages volunteers and community on a large scale with toy, clothing and food collections to make the Holidays brighter for low-income families with children. After a period of relative decline and stabilization of client numbers this past year we experienced a 20% increase of people in need. This year: 3915. Last year: 3310. We distribute one ton of food every single business day to 1 out of every 35 people in our service area, based on the population of Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. This year: 3068 people shopped the Food & Nutrition Center (40% of them or 1,240 under the age of 18). Last year: 2,845. Our Food & Nutrition Center is the most wide-reaching program under Emergency Services in terms of numbers served offering perhaps the greatest stability in the lives of low-income families and individuals. Money not spent on food can pay for clothing, education, school supplies, medical bills, etc. The Food & Nutrition Center is a critical safety-net for many people in our community to help them survive on low-paying and/or minimum wage jobs in a high cost of living area The Food & Nutrition Center is set up like a mini-grocery store where our clients “shop” for the food items they need: breads, dairy products, canned goods or even fresh produce. While appreciative of all food donations, we often receive food that is close to the end of its shelf life or of a nature that does not provide for a nutritious and healthy diet. The long term health impacts and benefits on the individual and community need to be considered, too, while minimizing food-insecurity, moving beyond “just giving them any food” with a more holistic approach. We strive to provide nutritious and healthy food options with fresh fruits and vegetables through partnerships with local Farmer’s Markets, Village Harvest and Hidden Villa whose organic produce is probably fresher than even the Farmer’s Markets. Dairy and protein products however need to be purchased. A NEW APPROACH: We will be implementing a new case management strategy pilot program this coming year for Emergency Assistance clients to explore additional programs and services that will enable them to achieve greater financial stability and thereby decrease the need for any future emergency financial assistance. ________________________________________ SENIOR SERVICES THE NEED:  Starting in just four years, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day; the total number eligible for Medicare will double to over 70 million within this generation, while the population of “senior” seniors, over 85, will increase five-fold. The “baby boom” is fast becoming the “senior boom.” Aging is a process, unlike poverty and hunger, which we are not trying to eradicate. A SOLUTION:  We can report that case loads have remained fairly constant for the past 5 years, with an average of almost 200 seniors per year, taken care of by three full-time case managers. This is not for lack of seniors in need of case management care but rather, the consistent number reflects the human capacity of our case managers. This past year we did add a full-time case manager which brought the client counts per case manager to a more reasonable and standard 60+.  Case management for seniors becomes increasingly complex as seniors live longer. Multiple medical and mental health issues, together with dementia, present challenges to case managers as they strive to educate and empower seniors in navigating the health care system. The number of hours per senior spent by a case manager increase as the senior gets older. Our internship programs with the San Jose State University School of Social Work and the University of San Francisco School of Nursing bring us much needed case management relief and support as we train younger social workers and nurses in geriatric care and issues. They also provide incremental hours of case management without a budget commitment for an additional salary with benefits position. A NEW APPROACH: This coming year we will be implementing 2 new programs focused on keeping seniors out of the hospital and living independently on their own: • Hospital to Home Transition Management: Currently 18% of Medicare patients admitted to the hospital are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, adding billions to health care costs. The frequency of readmissions for this age group is shown by research to be often related to difficulties in the management of symptoms in an outpatient setting; e.g. management of disease and medications, lack of adequate support systems, inadequate assessment of caregiver or patient ability to carry out discharge instructions. We will provide hospital discharge assessment and planning, along with one-on-one medical and health education to assist with management of any chronic disease or illness in addition to providing referral and case management to ensure all community resources are available and utilized. • Senior Fall Prevention Program: A 1998 Tufts University article states that people over the age of 65 who experience a fall and fall related injury are “10 times more likely to enter a nursing home than others of the same age and general health.” Approximately one-third of older adults over the age of 65 reports one or more fall each year. Reported falls increase annually to 40% of persons over 75 and 50% for those 80 or older. Case managers will assess risk factors and refer clients to their primary care doctor to diagnose and treat any underlying fall risks, such as taking four or more medications, or impaired vision. Other risk factors that cannot be mitigated will be monitored on a more regular basis for any signs of deterioration that would then warrant medical intervention: increased dependence for activities of daily living, dependence in transferring, the use of assistive devices, cognitive impairment, and problems with incontinence ________________________________________ HOMELESS SERVICES THE NEED:  Poverty and homelessness are inextricably linked. With low-income or minimum wage jobs, the working poor face difficult choices every day with their limited resources. Pay for food? Pay for childcare? Pay for education? Pay for housing? Pay for healthcare? Pay for bus fare? Pay to put gas in the car? It’s housing, which requires the largest proportion of income that takes the hit. A SOLUTION & NEW APPROACH: Two years after transitioning from a rotating shelter program, which limited the number of people assisted at any one time, to one of providing homeless services, our Alpha Omega Homeless Services program has seen a frightening rise in the number of people who have come to us for help.  From an average of 39 homeless people assisted annually in the rotating shelter program, we helped 162 in the first year of full homeless services case management and 241 last year, 50 of whom were under the age of 18. The majority of homeless that we assist are provided information to locate and secure housing, information and assistance with transportation services, along with food supplies from our Food & Nutrition Center. Others need help with benefits, employment, and health services, which can be quite labor and time intensive. But, perhaps the greatest challenge we face with homeless services is dispelling the myth of the homeless person as a drug user or just lazy. People can be homeless even with a job. More of homeless individuals and families live in their cars, or motels when they can, or with family and friends (on couches) than actually live on the streets.
Target demographics: low income, working poor, homeless and seniors in Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, CA.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 5000+
Geographic areas served: Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, California
Programs: We fulfill and accomplish our mission through the following core programs that address the issues around the working poor and unemployed, the homeless, and the elderly. The working poor and unemployed are provided assistance through two programs: 1) EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE. Our Emergency Assistance (EA) Program provides one-time help with rent and/or utility bills for those with economic hardships whether through unemployment or medical crisis. Vouchers are available to meet some of the very basic necessities of life such as clothing, and transportation. Emergency Assistance includes limited dental, vision, and prescription assistance for uninsured adults and their children. Families with school-aged children are also helped with vouchers for shoes and backpacks and other back-to-school supplies. Our Food and Nutrition Center provides free groceries (with culturally relevant foods), along with nutrition and health education to feed the hungry and minimize food-insecurity for almost 3,000 individuals in Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, 37% of whom (1,052) are under the age of 18. 2) HOLIDAY SHARING. Food, toy, and clothing drives are held throughout the community to provide clients with extra groceries and small gifts to make the holiday season a little brighter for both those who give and those who receive. The homeless are helped through the following program: 3) ALPHA OMEGA. Using the Housing First model, our Alpha Omega program works with homeless individuals and families linking them to services such as employment, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and government benefits. The goal is to shorten stays in emergency shelter and assist people?s move into permanent, affordable housing thus providing stability so they can rebuild their lives. Homeless individuals are also provided food through our Food & Nutrition Center. The elderly are assisted through the following programs: 4) SENIOR CASE MANAGEMENT. Senior Case Management provides in-home assessments, counseling and referrals to community resources by one of two Community Services Agency senior case managers. In addition our volunteer manager coordinates a Senior Volunteer Outreach Program to provide escorted transportation and shopping assistance for the elderly to help them maintain independent living status. 5) SENIOR NUTRITION PROGRAM. The Senior Nutrition program offers subsidized lunches every weekday to those in the community over the age of sixty. These lunches at the Mountain View Senior Center break the barriers of isolation for many elderly and provide opportunities for health education, disability prevention, and disease management presentations.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Two friends and I attended CSA's most recent monthly Chefs who Care event at Google. Every month a different local restaurant sponsors this fundraiser. I feel like my $35 donation yielded the most "bang for the buck" imaginable. Guests were treated to the Google employee dining experience which was fresh, local, wholesome, and creative cuisine. It was nice to see Google, a company that has invaded the city I grew up in, give to the community. I applaud CSA for their fundraising skills.

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Rating: 5 stars  

CSA is a great Nonprofit agency!!!
The staff is pleasant and helpful. The services offered I have utilized include meals, computers and story time for my son once a week. CSA improves quality of life for the local Mountain View residents.

Thank you Community Service Agency;

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 1 stars  

I went there for help, because director in mtn.view marauders told me to go there so they can help me waive the fee or at least low the cost for the cheerleading. I went there I have all my documents the only missing is the latest pay stub which is at work bcoz im off, I told her( elizabeth) if I can drop off nxt week same with my husband's pay stub. I asked her, so she cant assist me today bcoz of that missing pay stub she said "No" just re schedule your appt if u have all the documents. I dont expect this, I told her I cant afford to take a time off anymore, thats why im here asking for help. But she insisted "NO" just call when u have all your documents. me shes rude no consideration at all, she dont even think your time anf effort that you go there, not that I dont have the documents, just this pay stub, I have the previous stub and I told her if I can drop of nxt week since im off today,i dont have it with me , but its so jard for het to undetstand, shes not the right person yo be there, no mercy at all. I hope you will not xperience this. But it says in the bible "Dont do unto others what you dont want to be done unto you"

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

None

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered at CSA periodically over the last two years helping in the food pantry and during the holiday season with Christmas gift distribution to families. My husband and high school age children have also volunteered with me. CSA supports the local community and provides necessary services. They form a relationship with the clients and make it a comforting and productive interaction. The clients are so appreciate of the help and support at their time of need. The CSA staff provides complete training and communication to volunteers so that we can make a productive and effective contribution to clients and their needs. The staff is a pleasure to work with and we enjoy volunteering there.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with the clients in the food pantry as well as helping them select Christmas gifts and pajamas.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The staff is very nice, helpful and appreciative of the volunteers help. Also seeing the clients appreciation and impact on them at their time of need. The work is varied and there are different things to learn.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very helpful and hard working. Wanting to make a difference and help in whatever area is needed.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Serve many more people in additional areas. Continue to provide a needed and valuable service to the clients in the area.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

On December 9th, the Dell team visited the Community Services Agency in Mountain View, CA. We donated our time in the local community since we had been in regional meetings nearby for a few days. We were very impressed with the way Alison Hopkins organized us into teams and gave us a tour of the place. She gave us specific instructions and followed up with us to make sure we were getting the job done right. We were very pleased to see the recipients of our work shopping inside the agency and walking away with food and toys during the holiday season. It was a very worthwile cause and we are appreciative that we could participate in some way. I would receommend that people volunteer at this location and have Alison as your guide.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the local residents of the community receiving the help they need. There were long lines of people waiting for help and it moved very quickly and efficiently.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the amount of people that were assisting others in their time of need.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly and helpful. You can tell they enjoy what they do for the community.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help a larger geographic area and provide more services.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have been volunteering at CSA since 1997. It has been impacted by the economy more than once during this time and it always finds a way to help the clients and continue to grow. It has been a pleasure dealing with the staff, fellow volunteers and clients. There is great compassion and patience for all who are involved.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The people I have met and the since that I can make a difference no matter how much or little time I have to offer.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

consistently patient and giving. This is a very calm and happy group of people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Really impact the community. Probably improve the lives of many of their clients. Probably would add some health support.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I volunteered with CSA Cares until I moved from the area. I enjoyed interacting not only with the clients, but also my fellow volunteers and the CSA employees. In a short period of time I came to feel as though the employees, especially LaDrea and Alison, cared about me as a person, not just as a volunteer. And I appreciated how the employees treated the clients with respect.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The caring environment.

Ways to make it better...

Can't think of anything.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

My girls and I volunteer at CSA, sometimes together and sometimes individually. We have always been welcomed with open arms and hearts and because of this we look forward to helping out. The staff at CSA has an unwritten rule to accept anything you can give in time or donations with such genuine thanks that they make you feel so needed in helping make a difference with the families less fortunate then us. The respect CSA staff extends to us poors over to all the families they help. The clothes are always clean and worthy of the families who choose from the donations. A food supply with a constant supply of fresh and non perishable foods is organized daily for the families to choose from and there is seasonal events supporting the community too. Over xmas season a huge drive supplies families with much needed clothes, toys and games for the only prestents most of the families can give. The fund raising events we have worked at have been so well run that even though they are lots of work, as a volunteer we got endless support and encouragement from the staff making this an experience we repeat often. This takes ENDLESS amounts of work to organize and yet when you go in to help I see the same kind staff always with a smile on their face, a hug in their heart to share with us. Wow we are blessed to have a group like CSA who really make a difference to the needy and have touched my family too!!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

wonderfull in teaching us to give unconditionally to others, some less fortunate. They also showed my family it is not how much you do, but that you do what ever you can and that truely any bit helps. We will often just drop in for a short time

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I am a volunteer van driver, who picks up donated food from 2 supermarkets. It is impressive how efficient CSA is, how volunteers help me unload and place the donated food on shelves for our clients to make their choices. The lines of needy people are long, but they are served promptly, and everyone can have choices of what food they want to take home. Our staff treats all with respect, and I think CSA does a great job.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the donations be distributed immediately to needy people, in a dignified and respectful way.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I feel that CSA really makes a difference in the lives of their clients, and I have enjoyed being a part of that experience.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, energetic, and go out of their way to help. It makes for a smooth running operation.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

CSA was great; I helped pick up food from the local farmer's market and transport it back to the agency. What was a one time gig became weekly as I really appreciated the opportunity to make a tangible difference. Also, the people are super nice.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

There are a variety of ways to help and they worked around my schedule. In addition, all volunteer jobs were meaningful; you felt good after spending a day at CSA.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-10-01

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