By Brian CHERNICK
According to 2015 Census data, nearly 15% of Glendale residents live below the poverty line. While this is lower than the California state average, members of the Glendale Communitas Initiative believe this is still too high and have been working to combat the problem through GCI’s multifaceted and non-denominational social programs.
The non-profit, community-based organization run by founder and president Todd Leonard has been taking a holistic approach to getting individuals out of poverty.
GCI’s short-term JumpStart and longer term Poverty Recovery programs help people get back on their feet with 90-day and 12-month assistance through a series of personalized sessions that work both directly and indirectly with individuals. GCI provides access to personal caseworkers, referrals to highly vetted outside programs and financial guidance for those who find themselves overwhelmed.
GCI’s most recent initiative is geared to help the nearly 5,000 military veterans and their immediate families in Glendale and others within the surrounding community. The 90-day JumpStart program works with those on active duty and veterans to get the resources they need to find work, apply for benefits and get in contact with certified financial planners.
“JumpStart is for quick turn around with short term information to help get them going again,” said Jason Schlatter, executive director of GCI. “We work at a case by case basis. If they need more time we can talk about the 12-month program … but we’re not going to turn anybody away because they need additional resources.”
JumpStart is a short-term assistance program to help individuals bounce back and get on track with resume building, job seeking and application assistance.
Schlatter said that JumpStart is a personalized and tailored program for people who either need just five minutes or three months of help. JumpStart brings on professional caseworkers who are knowledgeable about what the men and women in the armed services need most.
An upcoming series, Money Matters, will be exclusively for veterans and will discuss smart strategies for saving, investing and getting out of debt.
JumpStart for veterans is appointment-based and takes place every Wednesday from
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wellness Works house at 540 W. Broadway in Glendale.
GCI provides services in English and Spanish and through volunteers can provide translations in Farsi and Tagalog.
Those interested or wish to acquire more information can call their hotline at (818) 477-0792 or visit the website at www.glendalecommunitasinitiative.org.