Meet our Social Worker

Meet our new social worker, Jackie Parra. Her first day, on site at the South Los Angeles Shelter, was April 9th. Thanks to a generous grant from DDR is able to employ her full-time, Tuesdays-Saturdays. Jackie has her masters in social work, and lots of experience working with unhoused people. She shares our belief that everyone deserves to be compassionately supported.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Different than the work that our shelter intervention counselors, Amanda and Yesenia continue to do, Jackie focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless, thanks to our partners on this grant  Together, HEART and DDR assist people with pets who might come to the shelter to surrender their cat or dog because they believe that they have no alternatives to avoid an eviction. In addition, Jackie is there to provide increased access to a wide variety of benefits, including EBT and SSI to name a few. Most important, she is there to be that empathetic listener for people in crisis. 


Rather than referring people to other agencies to receive case management services, DDR is now able to provide a one-stop-source for all types and human and animal services, with a goal of keeping people housed, and finding a path to permanent housing for those that are unsheltered with their pets.

Check out our April report

Children (0 – 17): 0
Adults (18 – 59): 7
Seniors (60+): 6
Other (unknown): 1
Total Cases: 14
Children (0 – 17) in Households: 0
Adults (18 – 59) in Households: 7
Seniors (60+) in Households: 6
Other (unknown) in Households: 1
Total Households: 14 households with a total of 14 members

We want to share a story of how this innovative program helped one person and her two dogs avoid becoming unsheltered. Sonia (not her real name) had lived for more than two decades in her rented home when it burned down, leaving her nowhere to go with her two dogs. Her landlord was able to place her in a temporary shelter that denied the dogs. While she slept at the shelter, the dogs remained in the yard of her destroyed home. She would go back and forth feeding and caring for them. Traveling by bus to the South Los Angeles Shelter, she received assistance from Jackie in the form of an ESA letter, which entitled her to bring her two small dogs to the temporary shelter. Thanks to HEART, who supported Sonia every step of the way in advocating for her right to bring her dogs with her, since they are her only real family, showing her unconditional love on a daily basis. 

We believe that every shelter should have a social worker on site to help people with pets. It’s our goal to collect the data to demonstrate how necessary this role is to support healthy communities for everyone.  #becauseweallneedhelpsometimes


Translate »