Faith in Action of San Gorgonio Pass was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to meeting the short-term and long-term needs of people experiencing homelessness in the cities of Banning and Beaumont. The organization stays abreast of available social services in the region and helps those who need assistance understand and gain access to programs that can improve their economic situation.
Founded by community members to provide the homeless with food and in-kind items, Carol Allbaugh took the helm of the organization in 2020, creating a navigation center in Banning. The organization rented an 800 square-foot office downtown and now sees 10 to 20 people every day it is open.
Allbaugh discovered that many of the individuals and families experiencing homelessness or about to lose their homes struggled with receiving responses to their queries for services. When the application process proved to be complicated, they also stopped seeking assistance. Their needs were as simple as getting a California ID or replacing a lost social security card.
“To get some of these folks to talk to you and trust you, you have to show them that you care and will work with them, not just give them a packet of papers or a list of phone numbers that are disconnected,” Allbaugh said. “If they stay with us, we’ll stay with them.”
Faith in Action has five part-time navigators who assist clients in overcoming barriers whether that is walking them through how to access a website or assisting with filling out the paperwork for services. The organization also has a notary onsite, which eliminates the roadblock of finding and paying for a notary when securing documents like birth certificates. Faith in Action is also an authorized agent for no-cost California IDs.
The number one request of clients in the region is housing, according to Allbaugh. The organization helps clients get on the HUD waitlist for affording housing units in Riverside County. Navigators talk clients through what is available for them, discuss their goals and help them to create a plan to achieve them. Clients are required to check in every two weeks by appointment. The organization also seeks out landlords willing to work with the organization and place clients in a home.
Recently, Faith in Action received a Community Impact Grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization has received a few grants during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist with providing underserved communities with the vaccine and has had some small fundraisers but continues to need assistance.
“This whole area is high in poverty, and we don’t have any large manufacturing or businesses in our area,” Allbaugh said. “Funding just isn’t here for us and right now we are struggling to stay open.”
Allbaugh hopes that more of the community with visit Faith In Action’s website, find out more about what the organization provides and consider becoming monthly donors. Donations of $25 a month could make a difference in the organization’s impact. Currently, the office is only open 12 hours a week for clients and could stay open more if it had the funding.
Faith in Action needs volunteers in the area who could work one or two days a week with clients as navigators. Volunteers are also needed to help with marketing and getting the word out about its impact in the community.
“We are an organization that really caters to needs of the low-income and homeless population and can provide that one-on-one caring assistance,” Allbaugh said. “Anyone who donates could be a part of this amazing work and keep us going.”
More information: https://www.fia-sgp.org/ or (951) 922-0111
This article originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, November 2022
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