Speaker Addresses Housing and Homeless at First Friday Forum

(Courtesy of Deanne Pearn)
Deanne Pearn is co-founder of Hope Solutions and First Place for Youth, and is the First Friday Forum guest speaker, slated for Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. Her topic is “Housing and Homelessness in Contra Costa County - Responding in the Context of COVID.”

    If you thought the homeless crisis in the U.S. was already dire, think about what impact the pandemic has had on Americans – even in our own backyard.
    Executive Director of Hope Solutions, Deanne Pearn, is the guest speaker for the First Friday Forum (FFF) Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. Her topic is called “Housing and Homelessness in Contra Costa County – Responding in the Context of COVID.”
    Many Americans have lost housing due to the pandemic.
    “Prior to COVID-19, the housing shortage and homelessness crisis in California was acute,” Pearn said, “One in nine Americans live in California, and one in four homeless Americans live in California. The health and economic crisis brought on by the pandemic is only exacerbating this situation.”
    Pearn is also co-founder of Hope Solutions, whose mission is to provide permanent housing solutions for the homeless.
    “Hope Solutions has worked to blunt the impact of the pandemic,” she said. “We emptied the shelters and moved people into safer spaces in hotels and are being creative in how we create permanent housing solutions.”
    Pearn will discuss the successes and challenges we have in ending homelessness in our community and detail how other partners can continue to be part of the solution. 
    Hope Solutions’ mission, according to its website, aims to “heal the effects of poverty and homelessness by providing permanent housing solutions and vital support services to homeless and poverty impacted families and individuals.”
    Hope Solutions was founded in 1997 as a partnership among Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, Temple Isaiah and many more faith communities. 
    It has grown into an $8.5 million organization, with over 60 staff members, offering a range of critical services to over 1,800 clients per year.
    Prior to coming to Hope Solutions, Pearn co-founded First Place for Youth, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to ending poverty and homelessness among transition age youth.
    Pearn holds a Master’s Degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School after receiving an undergraduate degree in human biology from Stanford University. She lives in Central Contra Costa County with her husband and three children.
    For this FFF, guests are required to register at lopc.org/first-friday-forum. Click on the link and fill out the webinar registration form with your name and email address. The Zoom link required for the presentation will be sent to your email Feb. 5.

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