SoCal homeless crisis: Local nonprofit Rainbow provides path to self-sufficiency, builds sense of community

RIALTO, Calif. (KABC) -- The lack of affordable housing is one of the reasons our city is facing a homeless crisis. But building more homes is only part of the solution. One local nonprofit is helping the homeless by building communities, with the hope of stabilizing the resident population.

Rainbow Housing Assistance works for ownership in an affordable housing community, but specifically with the residents of facilities like Willow Village in Rialto.

"People want a realistic path to self-sufficiency," said Flynann Janisse, executive director at Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation. "I don't think you can effectively do low-income affordable housing if you don't have tenant-based services."

Rachelle Maple is a widow and single mom; one of over 1,500 residents across six communities in the L.A. area learning various employment and life skills with the help of Rainbow. For Maple, it's critical that her daughter sees her do the work.

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"Rainbow has been heaven sent," said Maple. "It's not only my generation but it's my daughter's generation to say like, 'Hey, we don't have to live like this. We don't have to stay here forever. We can move forward."

"What we're here to do is really just to help the resident with their individual needs," said Tania Vega-Gamboa, a resident services coordinator.

Rainbow began to build what they call robust technology based programs several years ago, available live or recorded and available at any time day or night. They were positioned perfectly to help their tenants online when COVID hit.

"What we needed was for everybody to want to buy into the fact that there was considerable value in it, and it could be done, and it could be scaled and it can be impactful," said Janisse.

"We have credit classes: how do you get better credit? We have financial classes: How to be better with finances. We have GED classes where people can come to rainbow and get their GED... completely free," said Vega-Gamboa.

Rainbow believes eliminating the barrier to self-sufficiency and building a sense of community is the best solution for those who need it most.



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