Fundraiser for affordable housing for veterans
The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund will host its annual benefit in support of affordable housing, this time with a focus on raising awareness for the military community. The WELCOME HOME! social event will be held Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Camarillo Ranch and will feature keynote speaker Darryl Vincent, a veteran’s advocate for affordable housing and a former Marine himself.
Funds raised at the benefit will support projects that create new and affordable housing in Ventura County. The Housing Trust Fund was developed to support and finance low-income housing tailored toward veterans, farm-workers, transitional-aged foster youth, homeless and very-low-income individuals and families.
All funds raised at the event will be matched by a grant from the state of California, which organizers say will “double the value” to the program.
The award-winning New Directions Veterans Choir, compromising of military veterans, will provide entertainment.
Karen Fraser, administrative assistant with the Housing Trust Fund, says that many veterans who make use of the so-called VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers have difficulty finding housing because there are few landlords who will accept them as payment.
“There are a lot of veterans that have these vouchers but still can’t find the housing because of a significant lack of housing,” said Fraser. According to the 2015 Ventura County homeless count, there are 87 veterans without any form of housing residing in the county. This number, however, doesn’t account for the number of veterans who share housing and are in search of a permanent home by themselves or with their families, according to Fraser.
Fraser says that she hopes the WELCOME HOME! event will raise awareness of veterans’ housing needs and bring about options for the Housing Trust Fund to support before the June 2016 deadline, when a matching grant from the state of California will expire.
“We would love to get the word out that we have this money and then see if there are any projects out there that we can help out with,” said Fraser.
The WELCOME HOME! fundraiser will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Camarillo Ranch, 201 Camarillo Ranch Road, Camarillo. Tickets are $55-100. For more information, visit www.vchousingTrustFund.org/2015-event.
Camarillo walk to focus on suicide prevention
An annual walk to raise awareness of the nation’s 10th leading cause of death will take place next week in support of dropping the suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.
Over 300 walkers will take to the streets in the Out of the Darkness walk, just one of the 350 events occurring simultaneously nationwide, at Camarillo’s Constitution Park on Saturday, in support of the nonprofit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national programs. More than 150,000 people are expected to walk nationwide.
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia in a statement. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”
According to the foundation, one person living in the U.S. dies of suicide every 15 minutes. More than 38,000 die of suicide yearly, though nearly 1 million attempt suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens in the country, and adults aged 65 and older account for 16 percent of the deaths.
Regina Poynter, peer survivor specialist and chair of the Ventura County Out of the Darkness walk, says that those who suffer from suicidal thoughts and those who are either survivors of an attempt or family members who have lost a loved one need understanding the most.
“These people are not being cowards. It’s just that the pain is so debilitating — it’s like having a ball and chain on your leg,” said Poynter. Reaching 20 percent reduction by 2025 is an important goal, she adds.
“With the suicide rate increasing over the past 10 years, the reduction will be a challenge, but with tens of thousands of lives at stake it’s a challenge worth taking.”
The local chapter of the Foundation is seeking sponsors and donations for raffle prizes during the walk. The seventh Annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 a.m. at Camarillo’s Constitution Park, 1287 Paseo Camarillo, Camarillo. For more information on how to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and to register for the walk, visit www.afsp.org/out-of-the-darkness-walks.
Local workshop to update gas, oil regulations
The California Department of Conservation will conduct three workshops this month to receive public input on plans to update oil and gas regulations, particularly in regard to underground injections, otherwise known as fracking.
The underground injection control workshops will be held in Los Angeles, Ventura and Bakersfield on Sept. 9, 10 and 15, respectively. The Ventura workshop will take place at the Ventura Beach Marriott, 2055 Harbor Blvd., from 9 a.m. to noon today.
“We are making a concerted effort to bring our UIC Program into full compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure public health and safety and environmental protection,” State Oil and Gas Supervisor Steve Bohlen said in a statement. “These workshops are part of an informal, pre-rulemaking process to update the regulations.”
If you are unable to attend in person, comments can be mailed to the Department of Conservation, Attention: UIC Workshop, 801 K St. MS 24-02, Sacramento, CA 95814.
For more information on the workshops and to join the mailing list for further details, visit www.conservation.ca.gov/index/Pages/MailingLists.aspx.
Ocean-friendly workshops in Ventura
With no end in sight for California’s historic drought, county residents are turning their attention to conservation, specifically in the yard and garden. For those of us who, say, aren’t as green thumbed as others, help has arrived in the form of a series of workshops designed to educate amateur gardeners on the best methods by which to conserve.
The five-part Ocean-Friendly Workshop, hosted by the Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Watershed Protection District and led by Green Gardens Group, will educate at-home landscapers on how to design, mulch, grade and plant for optimal and efficient use of rain and groundwater, with the eventual goal of eliminating the use of long-term irrigation.
Workshop 1 will cover gardening basics, and the fifth and final workshop will discuss planting and irrigating. Students will also have the opportunity to create a water-friendly garden on the government center yard as a final project.
Local homeowners have taken to drought-tolerant landscapes in droves, ripping up water-guzzling grass and flowers for native succulents and ornamentals. David Laak, water-quality planner for the County of Ventura, says that residents will learn at the workshop about native and ocean-friendly plants such as the island snap dragon and canyon prince rye.
“Sixty [percent] or seventy percent of water usage is outdoor use for watering lawns and plants, and we really want to reduce that,” said Laak. “As you can tell by everyone’s brown lawns around here, it’s on the forefront of minds.”
The Ocean-Friendly Workshop will be held every other Saturday in September and October, beginning on Sept. 12 and ending on Oct. 24, at the Ventura County Government Center’s Pacific Conference Room, located next to the Hall of Justice Cafeteria at 800 S. Victoria Ave., in Ventura. Registration is required and space is limited. For more information and to register, visit www.watershedwisetraining.com/class-calendar.