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Review for Community Working Group, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Community Working Group is a grass-roots organization, formed in 1998, when the only local venue providing any services to our unhoused neighbors was flooded out. A partnership of local churches, various levels of government, and concerned citizens came together and succeeded (after several years) in building the Opportunity Center of the Mid-Peninsula, a facility that provides services (breakfasts, clothing, medical referrals, case management) to hundreds of poor people in the area. It also has four floors of very low-income housing for singles and families. Demand for this housing vastly outstrips the supply, so the Community Working Group is now in the process of raising money to put up another very low-income housing facility entirely for families.

Housing in the area is among the most expensive in the country, so many people who provide crucial services (such as teachers and medical technicians) cannot afford to live in the community where they work. The Community Working Group is working to strengthen our community by expanding the stock of affordable housing. This will also have the side effect of diversifying the community, and reducing the number of people who have long commutes, with the consequent environmental benefits.

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

Before CWG was formed, I had volunteered for a coalition of local churches that collected, prepared, and distributed food to needy people. I then served on a task force set up by the city to make recommendations about homeless services. The task force's report was ignored for several years, until the CWG was organized. The CWG turned what had seemed like a pipe-dream into a reality.

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

Bring in more volunteers. Most of the board members have been involved for a decade or more. New, younger volunteers are needed.

Role:  Board Member & I have served on the board of the CWG and participated actively in its campaigns to raise public awareness and funding.