As we approach West Valley Community Services' 50th year anniversary of serving our community, we continue to work to achieve our vision where everyone has food on the table and a roof over their head. A lot happened in 2022-2023: we had a leadership change at West Valley Community Services, welcomed a new WVCS board chair and vice chair, and added new staff members who made our programs and services happen. Janet and I are thankful for the support WVCS received from the community, volunteers, staff, and clients to make these transitions happen seamlessly.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear of the virus returning continues to undermine our clients’ stability and self-sufficiency. In some cases, clients have yet to return to full employment, and those who were out of work for an extended period still have months of accrued rent debt, causing stress and household uncertainty. On top of this, inflation has significantly driven the cost of food and consumer goods, leading to a year-over-year increase in demand for WVCS assistance.
By the end of the fiscal year 2022-2023, West Valley Community Services had served 1,479 new clients, helped more than 3,575 unique low-income and homeless clients, and distributed more than $1.4M dollars in emergency rental assistance. We also gave out food from our pantries, the equivalent of more than 953,452 meals.
As we look forward, we are excited to be part of the new phase of WVCS and to continue the safety net programs and services that support our client's basic needs and keep them from becoming homeless. Our strategic vision for the coming year focuses on:
1. Ensuring that programs, services, and delivery meet the current needs of our unhoused and housed clients.
Explore providing additional resources and services for the unhoused, such as access to hot meals and supportive services.
Explore potential food storage hub locations (outside Cupertino) to accommodate the increase in clients accessing the markets (our food programs).
Broaden and deepen advocacy efforts to help develop public policy that impacts hunger and homelessness.
2. Continuing to focus on organizational and financial sustainability during this leadership transition.
Invest in leadership development for all staff.
Ensure our donors, partners, clients, volunteers, and community continue to be engaged with WVCS under the new ED leadership.
Thank you for standing by us and continuing to support us in our fight to end hunger and homelessness. We are excited to be celebrating WVCS 50th anniversary with all of you. For more information, follow us on our blog post, social media, and newsletter.
Lloyd Holmes and Janet Farabaugh