Skid Row Development Corp.'s Martha Brown Hicks is in Washington for the weekend to pick up a special merit award for her agency's Transition House from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To observe the U.N. International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, 1987, HUD is making 17 such awards, through its Housing America program, having chosen the recipients from among 180 applicants nationwide.
"We received high marks for the corporation's economic development activity," Hicks said of Transition House, which provides housing for men and women for as long as two months, and counseling to ease those people into the mainstream or help them find permanent care. The parent corporation is designed to provide economic development services to the Skid Row community, such as through renting its property to labor-intensive light industries with a requirement that a percentage of local residents be hired.
In addition to the plaque Hicks will receive Monday, Transition House staff and clients will participate in a HUD video on housing that will be distributed internationally and be included in a U.N. booklet.
What does not come with the award is money, but Hicks was not in a mood to care. This, in spite of recent reports of difficult financial straits for Transition House and bail-outs by the Community Redevelopment Agency, and her campaign to get 300 corporations or individuals to pledge $1,000 annually to it.
"There's no direct money," Hicks said, "but (HUD officials) were so impressed . . . that they've offered to advise us on some available resources and help us network. . . . If we get the 300 members--we're around 60 now--Transition House will be solvent. With that, plus the economic development income, we would not have to ask CRA. But we know it may take two or three years to get there."
A Lucky Helping Hand
During October, shoppers at Lucky Stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties will receive their groceries in paper bags printed with the following:
Lucky Cares About the Displaced Homemaker
If You Are Widowed, Divorced or Separated
And Looking for Opportunities to Gain Economic Independence
Women Helping Women (213) 655-3807, (818) 343-1775 or Gender Equity at Los Angeles Pierce College (818) 347-0551 Ext. 452. CounselingWomen's Support GroupsCareer PlanningReferrals to Vocational Education Centers.
It is all part of the efforts of the Displaced Homemakers Coalition that has been working in Southern California to focus attention on the economic, social and emotional problems of women who are widowed, divorced, deserted or disabled.
According to coalition members, in addition to Lucky's support, Mayor Tom Bradley has proclaimed October as Displaced Homemaker Month and several community groups are implementing programs to help.
As for Lucky's support? Nancy Chandler at Lucky headquarters in Buena Vista said it all started with a phone call from Lucky spokeswoman Stephanie Edwards, who asked "that we give some time to them. Once we had our conversation, we wanted to help."
Sister Cities United
Sister Diane Clyne, who coordinates a women's program at St. Joseph's Center in Venice, got together recently with about 10,000 members of her community, the Sisters of Mercy, to talk about the community's ministry to women--on television. The teleconference on women, originating in New York, brought the nuns together by satellite at about 20 sites around the country. Clyne was one of about 12 from Los Angeles who flew to Menlo Park to join about 100 sisters gathered at St. Patrick's Seminary for the event.
"This was not only our first teleconference," Clyne said. "We've never had a national meeting of any sort. . . . We talked about women's oppression and poverty, of the implications for women of church and state governments' attitudes, and of creative responses to empower women and bring about change."
The conference "empowered" her enough, she said, to rush back to Los Angeles that same day and coordinate a Mass and dinner for about 500 neighborhood people at St. Joseph's Center.
A recent story in People in View about Cathy Head, who is building a celebrity autograph collection in the hope of converting it into a down payment on a home to ensure a secure future for her Down's Syndrome son, has touched some famous hearts: Bill Cosby, Ed Asner, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Eva Marie Saint, Jane Seymour and the Beach Boys, among them.
"It's been amazing, just amazing," said Head, 32, of Las Vegas who until her recent remarriage was a single parent supporting the boy, David Coxon, 15, and his 12-year-old sister. "I was very touched to find out there was somebody out there who cared about us," Head said.
Thirty-one letters (with $486 for stamps so that Head may send out more request letters) and 36 autographed letters have arrived in the last four weeks. This brings David's autograph collection to 385.
Among the new acquisitions are two autographs David had especially asked for: Lucille Ball and Jimmy Stewart. Pictures have also come from Jane Wyatt, Richard Carpenter, Eddie Albert, Mary Lou Retton, the Captain and Tenille, Herb Alpert, Robert Mitchum, Ted Danson, Sally Struthers and Robert Goulet.
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek sent a note with his, saying, "David, I know your mother didn't ask, but I'd be happy to be in your collection." From TV's Dick Sargent, who serves on the board of the Special Olympics, came a picture and a note: "I just read about you and your Mom. You're a lucky guy to have a Mom who's loving and lively, but of course she's lucky to have you."
Some of the people who sent money or good wishes wrote anonymously, so Head could not respond. "I really want to thank them, " she said. "It meant an awful lot to us."
David's address is: 4413 Shoen Ave., Las Vegas 89110.