The nonprofit Caterina’s Club, which is best known for serving some 5,000 pasta dinners each night throughout Southern California to underprivileged families, is celebrating a major milestone when it places its 250th family into their own permanent home through its Welcome Home Program. Many of these families had been living in crime-ridden, derelict motels and though many are able to pay the monthly rent to live in a safer, cleaner apartment, they lack the security deposit and first and last month’s rent that is often required to move in. Welcome Home offers them that assistance and a fresh start to a new life.
According to Sir Bruno Serato, founder of Caterina’s Club, since pandemic-related financial support programs end this month, many more families will require assistance so that they avoid living on the streets, in shelters or in cheap motels.
“We are already seeing a growing demand for our Feeding the Kids and Welcome Home programs due, in great part, to the ending of emergency pandemic funds, which had been helping those in need ride out the Covid crisis,” says Serato. “While we are excited to place our milestone 250th family in their new home, we expect demand for permanent housing to grow and we are asking the public — individuals, corporations, other nonprofits, etc. — for any kind of support so that better fulfill our mission.”
The program Serato is alluding to is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that offered emergency allotments — temporary benefit increases — to provide economic stimulus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those allotments ended after the February 2023 issuances. Starting this month, SNAP benefits will reduce the benefits by between $95 and $250/month, leaving its beneficiaries in a more precarious position for meeting their daily need including food and housing.
Caterina’s Club partners with the Illumination Foundation to identify families in need, provide necessary case managing, financial advising, and eventually the deposit and first and last months’ rent required to move in. In addition, Caterina’s Club collects donated furniture, appliances, and other home goods to jump-start these families’ new lives.
For more information, to donate to Caterina’s Club or to quality for assistance, visit www.caterinasclub.org.
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