The Watt Cos. has finished its first L.A. Homelessness Challenge, awarding two Southern California non-profit organizations $200,000 to implement their winning ideas. Venice Family Clinic and the Illumination Foundation won the award of 40 applicants. The Los Angeles-based owner partnered with United Way of Greater Los Angeles for the challenge, which is intended to generate housing solutions and services to aid the growing homeless population in Los Angeles.
“We were so pleased to receive an overwhelming response to our first L.A. Homelessness Challenge,” Nadine Watt, president of Watt Cos., tells GlobeSt.com. “We received more than 40 applications with innovative and well-thought-out proposals. We were grateful to have a team of 25 incredible judges, made up of a diverse group of professionals with business, nonprofit, and civic backgrounds, who helped us narrow the list down to five finalists.”
The two winners developed meaningful services that were scalable and had the potential to impact thousands of lives, according to Watt. “These two organizations submitted the most innovative and practical plans to help a wide range of people with critically important services and we are looking forward to seeing these programs implemented, and thousands of people helped as a result,” she says.
The Venice Family Clinic leveraged its background to provide medical attention to those living on the street. “The Venice Family Clinic is very well known for providing medical help to those who need it most,” she says. “Their proposal aims to amplify their already successful Street Medicine Program and increase its impact through the creation of a guidebook that will outline best practices in street medicine. This guidebook can accompany professionals on street visits and help them adjust to different geographies and better reach their patients. The Venice Family Clinic believes that they can reach out to 20,000 more patients per year with their award from the L.A. Homelessness Challenge.”
The Illumination Foundation conceived a program to provide shared housing solutions and supportive services. “The Illumination Foundation’s idea was also very innovative,” says Watt. “Their proposal seeks to create a Micro Community program that will provide shared housing and specialized, supportive services to medically vulnerable, homeless clients. The homeless population will benefit greatly from a supportive sense of community.”
Both of the winners are ready to use their winnings to implement their ideas. Watt Cos. was happy with the outcome of the challenge, and could host a similar challenge in the future. “We are really pleased with the success of our first challenge and continue to be committed to doing all we can to solve the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles,” says Watt. “We are definitely open to holding another challenge.”