Creating Change in my Community

Well, I have decided to take another step in advocating for homelessness in Los Angeles, and something became official this afternoon. As many of you know for the past year I have been working as an Adviser for the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) for the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), advising and making recommendations on the many programs and services provided by LAHSA in the City & County of LA’s efforts in ending homelessness. As of this afternoon, I am officially a candidate for the Service Planning Area 7 (Eastern Area) Representative for the LA Regional Homeless Advisory Council or RHAC. The RHAC (currently 58 seats) is comprised of the many Service Providers and Advocates that serve the homeless throughout LA County. LAHSA just emailed out the notice (it should be uploaded to the LAHSA website soon), and I’m honored to be listed. I’m the only Candidate to mention that I have first-hand experience with homelessness and have worked with the population since 2007 with emphasis on Veterans and LGBT members of the community; I am also the only one that is not in a management position for one of the many Service Providers throughout the CoC or the County.

I go up against the other two Candidates in a vote by my community members on Fri, 24 Aug during the SPA 7 Meeting at 9 am This meeting is also a Los Angeles Continuum of Care (CoC) Quarterly Community meeting, which are being held to provide opportunities for community stakeholders and service providers to share information and best practices, deliver important updates on program funding, grant opportunities, performance measurement and legislative and policy requirements.

If you want to read my Candidate Statement you can do so by going here: https://www.lahsa.org/documents?id=2215-candidate-statement-apolonio-e-munoz-2018-rhac-spa-7-representative.pdf or by reading the pic below.

LAHSA listed only 3 of my endorsements, however I turned in 5. I want to express my heart-felt appreciation and say, “Thank You to all of them for seeing something in me and backing me in the endeavor.” They are Israel Velasco , HUD-VASH Supportive Service Coordinator at Volunteers of America Los Angeles & Long-Time Homeless Veteran Advocate; Maribel Marin, Executive Director of 211 LA County; Suzette Shaw, Long-Time Homeless Women Advocate & CoC Board Member; Kristine Stanley, Long-Time Homeless Veteran & Women Advocate; and Reba Stevens, Member of the RHAC and LEAG.

You can see the other two Candidate Statements by going here: https://www.lahsa.org/documents?id=2216-candidate-statement-tomasz-babiszkiewicz-2018-rhac-spa-7-representative.pdf

and here: https://www.lahsa.org/documents?id=2217-candidate-statement-vanessa-sedano-2018-rhac-spa-7-representative.pdf

For more information about the RHAC & what LAHSA is doing visit: https://www.lahsa.org/coc/rhac

One Door Closes and Another Opens

As I sit here surrounded by the executive leadership of the California Veteran Community.  It’s day 2 of the CalVet Leadership Summit,  a gathering of the Senior and Executive Level leaders of US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, CA Veterans Affairs, the County VSOs,  DAV,  American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America,  Swords to Plowshares, VetFund Foundation, other Veteran Service Organizations from around the state.  I’ve never seen every VA Medical Center and Regional Office, and County  VSO in one room at the same time.  The newly appointed CalVet Secretary, Dr Vito Imbasciani MD called this summit to identify barriers faced by the Veterans of California and create strategies and alliances to better serve the Veterans.  The Secretary and other leaders have set a tone of leaving politics and agendas at the door.

I was asked to attend and represent the LGBT Veterans in the State. The timing of this Summit couldn’t have been more perfect.  I was laid off from my position at VOA as a Peer Support Specialist in the HUD-VASH Program due to lack of funding. With my experience of being an underemployed and homeless Veteran I have an insight in the struggles of the Veterans that most of these leaders don’t know first hand.  At first I asked myself why am I here?  I don’t belong in this room surrounded by these executives with travel budgets and resources to give up a week to travel to the Capitol. However, some how The gods smiled down on me and made this opportunity possible.

When I return back to LA,  I’ll be using the contacts made here to plan the upcoming Operation: Do Ask,  Do Tell 2016 and establish resources and programs for the Veterans in LA,  and possibly find a new position working to continue to serve LGBT Veterans not only in LA but across the State.

Religious Families Are Disowning A Record Amount Of Homeless Gay Teens | The Gaily Grind

After reading this article I’m truly saddened that this is happening. W as modern Americans can’t allow our youth to be kicked out of their homes and forced to live on the streets. I remember when I was growing up in my home, I moved out at the age of 16, when my father and I would fight constantly. I knew then I was different, and hadn’t come out to myself. I remember him calling me faggot and saying that my friends only wanted me around so they could rake turns on me. It wasn’t until several years later that I even felt comfortable with a man, I fought my true self for years, getting engaged at the end of my senior year, and again in the Army.

We have to create a loving and safe environment for our kids to to grow up in. If we are disowning them in the name of a religion that is supposed to be based on love and acceptance, what message are we truly giving. This is part of the reason why I created Sister Mariposa, she exists to spread joy and acceptance in a world that is cruel. If she can help at least one person, then she can die a happy nun.

Religious Families Are Disowning A Record Amount Of Homeless Gay Teens | The Gaily Grind.

Group Works to Help Homeless Vets Off Streets

Watch this and see the work my office does each and every day for the Vets that keep coming back from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, most of which are coming back to no homes, no jobs, and end up on the streets in their cars, or under bridges…. if you know of a Vet in need please give them the number to the NVF 888-777-4443, and tell them a fellow vet is on the other side of that number waiting to help them get back on their feet.

Click the link below to go to the video which aired on Fox News 2/5/2011….
Group Works to Help Homeless Vets Off Streets

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