As the incoming President of the Long Beach Area Coalition for the Homeless, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead of us with optimism and a little trepidation.
In 2016, we saw a sharp increase in the awareness of the community regarding persons experiencing homelessness in our city. Some of our community members chose to vent their frustration on social media, while others attended community meetings and asked what they could do to help people experiencing homelessness and living on the streets. As we move forward into 2017, my goal as President is to work with the board to examine and re-define our mission statement, craft a strategic plan that will lay the foundation for our work ahead and transform our general meetings into a working space instead of being report driven. I want to increase the coalition?s voice and influence in the community so that we can support and advocate for the organizations that serve the homeless in Long Beach.
Paige Pelonis is a product of Long Beach. She has worked as a journalist and non-fiction creative writer in this city for nearly a decade. Born and raised in her favorite city, Paige graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2015 with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and a second Bachelor's in International Studies with an emphasis on politics and economics.
She founded CityHeART, and arts-based, service provider that supports various at-risk communities in Long Beach through a Resource Hub located at The Villages at Cabrillo. Paige has worked for Congressman Alan Lowenthal, served as Communications Director for Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell, and currently works as part of the community engagement team at Century Housing at The Villages at Cabrillo.
Paige LOVES Long Beach.
Jaylene Eatherly Westfall has been a member of the Long Beach Area Coalition for the Homeless for 6 years and has served as the Board Secretary for the last 4. She has over 17 years of experience advocating and working with veterans, individuals and families experiencing homelessness both in shelter and supportive housing.
She currently works for Century Villages at Cabrillo as the Residential Services Supervisor overseeing the supportive services in the Cabrillo Gateway apartment building and working with the CVC team to provide resident engagement activities and programming that encourages participation and increases feelings of community and empowers residents to take ownership of their community and neighborhood.
Arlene Mercer has been the Executive Director of Urban Community Outreach for almost 4 years. In 2016 a total of 2,798 unduplicated individuals, families, veterans and disabled people received hot meals, services, and resources that lead to an improved life, rising above poverty and homelessness.
She is also Founder/Executive Director Emeritus of Food Finders, a 28 year old multi-regional food rescue operation serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The organization has provided a gift to the community of 129 million pounds of food to date valued at $204 million dollars.
She has received many local, state and national awards for her work with the less fortunate.
Arlene has an accounting background and has worked in various accounting related management positions, including serving as a former Treasurer to the LBHC, a Healthcare Administrator, Controller, Account Executive, Brokerage Account Coordinator and Management Account Coordinator.
She is a Presbyterian Elder and has served as Vice Chair of the Los Ranchos Presbytery Self Development of People Committee. She is Past President and now Treasurer of the Long Beach Area Coalition for the Homeless, a long-time member of Long Beach Non-Profit Partnership, a founding partner of Partnership 4 Solutions (a family resource center) and founder of Adopt a Grandparent.
She and her husband of 53 years have two grown children and three grandchildren.
Amanda Earnest Fuller is a Long Beach resident and Event and Sponsorship Manager at Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach. She has been active in the Junior League of Long Beach since 2017 and began volunteering at the Long Beach Rescue Mission in 2015, where her passion for helping those experiencing homelessness in Long Beach began. She has been serving as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Long Beach Homeless Coalition since January 2019.