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Arts & Awareness

Arts & Awareness provide a unique experience to understand human value
and issues around homelessness

A Look Back

The impetus for the Fund for Homeless Women began when we became aware of the growing number of women experiencing homelessness on the Monterey Peninsula and the dearth of resources available to help them. We organized a multi-media art exhibit, “Becoming Visible: The Face of Homeless Women in Monterey County,” which used photography, video and stories to bring public attention to the lives of local women who were homeless. This exhibit led to the creation of the Fund for Homeless Women at the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC). A gift from an anonymous CFMC fund holder late in 2012 endowed the Fund and helped spur a wider community awareness and fundraising effort.

In 2014, our first round of grant making, the Fund facilitated and supported the opening and operation of One Starfish – providing safe parking and case management services for women living in their cars; The Gathering Place for Women – where women could be fed in body, mind and spirit through a weekly luncheon initially held at San Carlos Cathedral. Shelter Outreach Plus and Community Human Services received funds to increase their ongoing programs for women. Additionally, St. Mary’s by the Sea Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist Church were given grants to help meet emergency needs of unsheltered women to help keep them safe.

Over the following three years the Fund for Homeless Women helped fund the opening of, Save our Seniors, Women in Transition, and IHelp for Women, while providing much needed support to historic service providers in the community, including Legal Services for Seniors – to provide free legal services to senior homeless women in need of legal assistance.

In five years, the Fund has raised over one million dollars from generous community donors, helped facilitate the opening of five new programs, established a growing endowment, awarding over $940,000 through over 30 grants, and commissioned the first ever study of the status of women living without adequate shelter on the Monterey Peninsula. In partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County, we offer annual grantmaking to qualified applicants, conduct regular community education programs, established a collaboration with Gathering for Women and the Monterey Institute for International Studies for ongoing research and analysis of data related to homeless women, and most recently (through the generosity of a community donor) created the Scholarship Fund for Homeless Women – to help women living without adequate shelter achieve their educational objectives at local accredited institutions of higher education.


What We See:
Photographs by Women Without Shelter

This 2017 exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Art commemorated many things. First and foremost it honored the lives of women who struggle with housing insecurity in our community. It celebrated their hopes, dreams and passions recognizing the gifts and talents they offer us on the Monterey Peninsula and to the wider world. Too often, we only see deficits and forget that women without homes are so much more than homeless; so much more than the current condition of their lives. Now visible, they share their stories – showing us what they see and who they are.

This exhibit will be installed at Gathering For Women.

For more information please contact co-organizers@fundforhomelesswomen.org.

Becoming Visible:
The Face of Homeless Women in Monterey County

Becoming Visible, the 2012 Carl Cherry Center for the Arts exhibit, showed us a world that is right in front of us—if only we looked. The photographs in this exhibit explored the deeply troubling circumstances of women who have been left homeless by an array of causes and conditions. Set against the stunning backdrop of Monterey County, the black & white and color photographs documented the vulnerability, devastating poverty and everyday reality of a disenfranchised community living on the margins of paradise.

For more information please contact co-organizers@fundforhomelesswomen.org.

Public Awareness

We are committed to educating ourselves and the communities about the complexities of homelessness. It is too easy to think there is an quick solution if only someone will do it.  We have about eight Wednesday morning programs a year where we explore what is happening in our community. We arrange for speakers to present information to the community.  We encourage the audience to make announcements of what is happening in the community. We also meet with local groups to discuss homelessness and to listen to ideas and plans that groups may have to improve the community.  Please contact us at co-organizers@fundforhomelesswomen.org if you would like us to speak to your group.

Upcoming Community Forums – Please Save the Date – Free and Open to the public:

Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
Where: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 146 12th Street (at Central Ave.), Pacific Grove, CA 93950

  • Wednesday, January 16 — Tiny House Initiative in our Community
    Reyes Bonilla, executive director,Community Homeless Solutions & Eric Johnsen, Board of Directors, Vice-President
    They will present and provide an overview of our new Transitional and Permanent Housing initiatives

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