Every now and then this blog takes a close-up of the work an individual agency is doing. This week we would like to profile Starting Over, Inc. a small Los Angeles agency dedicated to helping individuals who have fallen by the wayside and are trying to reenter the mainstream of normal life. Starting Over Inc. is dedicated to helping Southern California's most vulnerable by addressing homelessness, recidivism, and reentry. Although providing transitional housing is an important part of their service, over time the program has evolved a seven-part service model that seeks to address the complex of conditions that hinder a successful reentry into the mainstream.
Transitional Housing- Their longest-running service, Starting Over, Inc. currently owns eight transitional homes in the Los Angeles County and Riverside County areas. Housing services are available to anyone who needs a place to stay, whether after release from jail or prison, a stumble into homelessness, or dealing with substance abuse.
- Case Management - Free case management services are made available to all houseguests in need of additional support: (medical/health insurance, mental health services, important documents (ID, DL, SS, etc.), education and social security, food assistance, bus passes, clothing, hygienic supplies, family unification, expungement, employment, social and criminal justice advocacy.)
- Peer Support - Peer Support Specialists are people with lived experiences of incarceration, addiction, and mental health disorders. A Peer Supporter has walked the path of recovery and is employed to assist others in their own journey.
- Legal Clinic - Their Marshall Legal Clinic helps residents with all of their legal questions including help with post-conviction relief, unlawful detainers, wills/trusts, immigration, and more.
- Employment Services – The agency helps residents with resumes, applications, quality job leads in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, practice interviews, one-on-one computer lessons, and more. Employment services are free and available to the community.
- Clothing Closet - It is heartbreaking to meet a person just released from prison with no job, no money, no home, and just the clothes on their back. Residents are invited to begin with dignity by selecting proper clothing free from the closet to attend job interviews or reunite with their families.
- Food For Life - Fresh groceries are made available bimonthly to the public outside our residences.
All Of Us or None
Starting Over Inc. also participates in the Riverside chapter of All Of Us or None, a national organizing initiative of formerly incarcerated people, their families, friends, and allies. They support and empower the community through legislative participation, civic engagement, leadership development, economic empowerment, and community building.
Helping People Start Over
Based on the “A New Way of Life” program model, Starting Over Inc.’s hybrid model blends direct services with civic engagement and public policy work. This strength-based model uplifts and empowers program participants through leadership development techniques. Through this model of combined policy advocacy and direct services, Starting Over, Inc. addresses both the direct effects of destructive policies and the root causes of their clients' difficult situations.
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