Project Understanding: Serving People in Need in Ventura County-Part 2

A group of volunteers is sorting Thanksgiving baskets

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer (@MaryannRidiniSpencer)

Project Understanding, founded with the support of the community and many faith-based congregations has been serving Ventura County for over 40 years. Their goal of moving clients out of homelessness providing support, food, housing, and educational programs, has been instrumental in fostering hope and transforming lives of thousands of individuals.

How Project Understanding serves people in need in Ventura County

First Step Center

Individuals needing assistance provide information on their special circumstance at The First Step Center. Intake forms can be found online at or by visiting Project Understanding, 2734 Johnson Drive, Suite E, Ventura, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, (805) 652-1326. Afterward, clients are evaluated and contacted by an Intake Specialist who puts together a game plan for the client including objectives, resources, and referrals which might include DMV reduced fee vouchers, utility payment assistance through Community Action, and rental assistance through H2H.

Food Pantry

Project Understanding’s Food Pantry provides groceries on a weekly basis to families and individuals in need. A majority of the food on their shelves is donated or purchased from Food Share. For help with food, clients are invited to come to the Pantry, 2734 Johnson Drive, Suite E, Ventura, 93003, (805) 652-1326, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday. A picture ID is required.


Homeless to Home (H2H)

For homeless requiring help to find housing, the H2H office is open weekdays 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The requirements for the intake portion of the application include:

• Proof of Income (last 2 check stubs, SSI/SSA/Disability award letter or bank statement if direct deposit, food stamps, and/or unemployment stubs).

• Proof of Address – rental agreement; if renting a room or a letter from the landlord

• Proof of Dependents/Custody – rental agreement (if listed on it), legal paperwork and awarding custody,

• If homeless, an ID and mailing address are required.

For homeless looking to find housing, contact H2H at (805) 231-2299, weekdays, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Hank Koozehkanani is Program Manager.

Shore at the WAV

Shore at the WAV provides Case Management of previously homeless families and individuals obtaining them permanent, supportive housing subsidized by Section 8 funds. The office is open weekdays, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Appointments are required by calling (805) 628-3332. Kristie King is the Case Manager. Requirements for consideration are the same H2H.

Intake forms for both H2H and Shore at the WAV can be found at

Tender Life Maternity Home

Located at 871 E. Thompson Boulevard in Ventura, Tender Life Maternity Home provides homeless pregnant women with safe housing and various support services promoting self-sufficiency. Program requirements include that a client be homeless and pregnant (with no other children), a phone and in-person interview, at least 30 days of sobriety (proof if available), no felonies preferred (decided on a case by case basis), proof of legal status, proof of income (or Cal Works). Severe mental health clients are not able to be housed. Domestic violence clients must have completed a 30-day domestic violence shelter before being considered. Intake forms are found at


The Tutoring Centers at Project Understanding

Students grades K-5, recommended by their instructors, are assigned to volunteer tutors who provide one-to-one assistance with school work. Currently, Project Understanding has 11 tutoring centers throughout Ventura County, in El Rio, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Saticoy, and Ventura. For more information, contact Tutoring Manager Carolyn Pillado, (805) 652-1326 x303.

Project Understanding “Giving a hand up, not a handout.” Find out more at

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