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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Our Children LA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services

Mission: Our Children LA (OCLA)'s founders believe that no one, especially a children, youth or families, deserves to be hungry or without a roof. OCLA understands that technology is the best way to reach under-served populations today and in 2015 piloted WIN, a mobile app designed to connect LA County's homeless and nearly homeless to services. The latest version of WIN (with many new features) is available in the mobile app stores and is additionally hosted on OCLA's website. OCLA also publishes the only comprehensive county-wide resource guide for homeless youth/ families/adults. The guide is available on OCLA's website as well as via hard copy and is used by teachers, libraries and others in settings where a mobile app is not as useful or appropriate.

Results: Well over 6000 searches have been performed on the WIN app in LA County since January 1, 2019 . Top searches are for food, shelter, dropin centers, crisis support and emergency services.

Target demographics: homeless, food and resource-insecure populations

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County

Programs: Win (what i need) is a free mobile application designed to empower regional homeless or resource-insecure youth, (ages 12-25), families and adults to connect to 12 categories of supportive services. First released in the googleplay and itunes stores in november 2015, win lists over 1800 programs that youth, families and adults can walk into without a referral. Win empowers youth/families/ adults to locate the resources that they need, using technology and resources that people today trust- cell phones and the internet. (the vast majority of homeless individuals under 40 has smart phones and can access the internet using wi-fi. Free wi-fi is widely available at libraries and coffee shops in la county. ) built with the guidance and input of regional homeless youth and adults, this searchable application currently operates in la county, offering information and live connections to over 1800 area programs providing food, shelter, health/mental health, legal, drop-in/access centers, jobs, transportation, education, government benefits, hotlines, crisis supports and more. A web version of win is also available for free use on the ocla website. Win has been recognized as one of the top 3 resources for la's homeless youth and is featured on the la homeless services authority's website. Many providers require their staff and/or clients to download win because it is the best resource access tool in the county. Win is scalable and designed with the capacity to add and serve other regions. Win's most important accomplishment however is that street youth and adults have told us that win empowers them to find help, offers hope and most importantly, its very existence makes them feel valued and worthy of support.

ocla's 146-page directory of los angeles area service providers lists resources that can be accessed directly by youth under 25 without prescreening or referral. It is intended to serve as a resource and referral guide for outreach workers, librarians, educators and others who may encounter a homeless person. The directory of services may be found in every la city library, in schools around the county as well as on the ocla, lacoe and city and county library websites. The directory is actively promoted/used by the homeless liaisons within each of the school districts under the supervision of la county office of education.

the website, www. Ourchildrenla. Org, is a seminal "go-to" regional website with a resource and community engagement center for regional homeless advocates, policymakers, service providers, youth and others. Its goals are to improve local understanding and drive regional change efforts to better support the critical needs of los angeles area homeless persons. The website currently includes an information center, a news center, research center, and a community resource center. Importantly is also hosts the 2015 directory for services for homeless youth and hosts the web version of the win: what i need - mobile app.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Melissa Halle S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This non profit has been continually focused on the needs of homeless across LA County. The initial focus was on unaccompanied homeless youth but that view has broadened to include families that are experiencing homelessness and adults. The information, resources, fact sheets and collaborative partners are essential to support our county's most vulnerable population which is sadly increasing. I encourage everyone to check out the updated What I Need Mobile app designed to provide direct links to a myriad of needed resources across the county for unaccompanied youth, families and adults experiencing homelessness.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Win app is an incredibly effective tool for getting homeless children and young people off the streets and successfully back into society. We have been watching and supporting Our Children LA for several years. We are always impressed by their impact, professionalism and exponential growth. If we could get this app into the hands of even more organizations, government departments and employees, and especially homeless individuals LA county would would be making an even larger dent in solving our homeless issue. We highly recommend Our Children LA and their "WIN" app.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a supporter and continue to be in awe of the work and mission. It has been wonderful to witness the power of technology to transform lives, and provide access to critical resources for youth and families. Our Children LA enables people to live with dignity.

Taylor R.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very impressed by the good work that these guys are doing. There should be this service in every city! I give it my full endorsement!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be on the Board of OCLA which is performing a unique and extremely important function for our community. I live in Santa Monica and every day see so many homeless attempting to survive on the streets so it is good to know that they now have some way to find out about and locate vital services.

Donor

Rating: 5

Such an important issue and a huge mountain to climb - I'm beyond thankful that they are doing something about our children!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a big supporter of OCLA and their App for homeless at-risk youth. It provides needed services, resources, safe spaces for a very vulnerable population. Often, these children are runaways, thrown out of their homes for being gay. The App gives these homeless youth a way to connect with caring people willing to help.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Every major city in the country has a need for the incredible work that OCLA is doing to help the homeless youth of Los Angeles. I have been keeping my eye on this great non-profit for a few years now and I am continuously amazed by the dedication and commitment to the cause. It's truly touching and I not only whole-heartedly support, but also am so proud to see efforts such as this at play in our society. Thank you for everything that you do and keep up the great work!!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

LA County is one of the most populated and expansive counties in our nation. I have worked with several nonprofits looking to compile resource lists for their clients and I always make sure to direct them to Our Children LA and their beautifully designed WIN (What I Need) app. Not only is the app user-friendly, it is the best maintained resource guide in LA County. In the past I have sent in requests for resource updates and was emailed back by staff the same day. In the world of social work, programs and resources change so frequently due to the nature of our funding shifts. Having a resource guide that is maintained at this level is critical to the people we serve and demonstrates a great empathy to our neighbors who need help at times.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I became aware of OCLA in March of 2019. The service they deliver the homeless and needy is like none other. We have people in need and we have services in place - but they must find each other, quickly and safely. The WIN app and OCLA directory are what provide that critical link. We need all those in the caring professions and those in need to know about this app and to spread the word. The founder is passionate and innovative, which is what we need to address this critical social issue.