Friends to the rescue

Friends to the rescue

Antonovich and Rebecca Huang, daughter of city Housing Director Bill Huang, to be honored for helping the needy

By Rebecca Kuzins 11/07/2012

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has acquired $200,000 in grant funding to boost social welfare programs operated by Friends In Deed, an organization formed by the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations (ECPAC).

The grant, plus some additional sources of revenue, will also enable the Pasadena Bad Weather shelter to open this winter. Although officials cut shelter funding earlier this year, Pasadena Housing Director William Huang said the city has obtained $25,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the service. 

Huang’s daughter, college freshman Rebecca Huang, has garnered another $27,000 in donations from individuals and businesses as a result of a fundraising effort she mounted last November, recruiting students from Westridge, Maranatha and San Marino high schools to assist in her campaign.  

Antonovich was expected to present the organization with a check from the county for $100,000 today to help refurbish the building at 444 E. Washington Blvd. from which Friends In Deed manages a food pantry, daytime women’s shelter and a program to assist people in need of money for rent and utilities.

The Rev. Pat O’Reilly, executive director of Friends In Deed, said this will be the first major renovation of the facility since it was built in the late 1970s. The renovation, explained Phillip Chen, Antonovich’s health deputy, will create “a new face for an already great service.”

Antonovich earlier this year provided Friends In Deed with another county-funded grant for $100,000 to enable the Bad Weather Shelter to remain in operation. Located at Pasadena Covenant Church on North Lake Avenue, the shelter provides housing and meals for homeless individuals and families each night in January and February, and on particularly cold or rainy nights from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve and March 1 through 15. 

For many years, the city of Pasadena has earmarked $60,000 a year for the Bad Weather Shelter, which, according to O’Reilly, costs about $123,000 a year to operate. But as part of its budgetary cutbacks, the city dropped this allocation beginning in the current 2012-13 fiscal year, forcing the shelter to seek other sources of revenue.  Today’s scheduled event was aimed at raising additional funding for the shelter.

Antonovich was to be honored during the event, and O’Reilly said Rebecca Huang was also set to be recognized for her contributions.

“Rebecca’s spirit and creativity, her hopefulness, really helped us get through a tough period of time,” O’Reilly said. “She is an inspiration to us.”

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