What’s the history of One Human Community? It was conceived at the peak of the recent recession as a peer support group for Los Angeles area residents dealing with financial hardship. Times were – and for some, still are – tough. During the recent recession:
- 10,000,000 families have lost their homes. (That’s nearly 25% of all American homes whose owners still make payments on their mortgages!)
- 11.5 million breadwinners were unemployed. (It isn’t so today, but even though the unemployment rate has dropped dramatically, many incomes have taken a beating.)
- 50,000,000 Americans lived below the poverty line.
- 1 in 5 American children still goes hungry.
The list goes on. To some degree we’ve all been affected by the “new” economy. Some have bounced back already. Many are in the process of recovery. Just as many still struggle. Considering the fact that we’re all in it together, the Human Community should stand as One.
One Human Community is the brainchild of Avo Keshishyan in San Fernando Valley CA, created to provide peer to peer support to those who need it, FREE of charge and FREE of humiliation.
The “big institutions” have a collective case of amnesia. For reasons unknown, banks can’t remember – or even look up! – their history with clients who helped them make record-breaking profits for years and years in the then prosperous economy. They forget a person’s top credit rating the moment one tries to even temporarily lower credit card payments. Banks that pushed predatory loans received bailouts from the government while millions of consumers manipulated and exploited by them are left holding the bag. Go figure, this logic defies reason. Financial circumstances – as we have all learned to some degree – can be variable, a person’s financial history is the ultimate record of one’s integrity.
Government institutions responsible for preventing human tragedies can be quite cavalier. Government’s employees work, they don’t feel. Aid is often dispensed in the most humiliating way; often unfairly; frequently based on the case worker’s personal bias; abuse of authority – among case workers – is rampant. (In some cases, local governments have no resources to dispense aid, at all.)
While the “big institutions” give a cold shoulder to consumers whose finances have changed for worse, the community seems to be terrified of people in crisis and frequently treats them like lepers as if temporary financial problems were contagious. (Excluding AIDs patients from the mainstream of society gave rise to a justified outrage. Shouldn’t the exclusion of the suddenly impoverished, the working poor and the under-employed bring the community closer together?) The change we’re witnessing isn’t purely economic. It is also social and for many: an identity problem.
Communities do flock together to celebrate; why shouldn’t they come together as peer support groups for their members?
This Website may be quite new but One Human Community’s peer support group is active in San Fernando Valley, CA for three years now. During the recent recession, Avo Keshishyan and a few other brave souls provided support to:
- over 90 families at risk of losing their homes were counseled (free) on home preservation programs and provided with free resources to assist them in saving their homes
- 22 homeowners whose income has shrunk and who needed help applying for mortgage modifications were given free resources and free assistance throughout the process
- nearly 200 unemployed individuals were provided free access to a computer and Internet; trained in developing their resumes and showed how to search for and apply for jobs Online
- free classes in money management were made available to 39 individuals in the process of overcoming financial hardship
- over 200 families were provided with referrals to resources for low income families
- free clothing was provided to 60 low income women
- free toys were distributed to nearly 250 underprivileged children
No one was turned away. All forms of support were provided FREE of charge.
Solutions to most human problems are usually available – regardless of the specifics of your situation – PROVIDED you know how to find them. One Human Community support group made much needed information and resources available to those who needed it in a safe and supportive environment.
Moral support and information were always available. The same can’t be said of food and goods which were – unfortunately – sparse. One way or another Avo and his supporters have done their best to help those in need.
The supporters were either survivors of the crisis or community members who’re volunteering their time and skills.
Avo Keshishyan’s home (in San Fernando Valley, CA) served as the center of One Human Community support group’s activities.
Could have One Human Community done more or better? ABSOLUTELY! That’s why this Website’s been developed. To spread the word so more Los Angeles area residents in need could have been helped and to invite others to contribute their skills, time or resources to help those who truly need help.
The word of One Human Community’s work has spread nationwide and Avo’s been receiving requests for help from allover United States. Read some of the stories that make statistics HUMAN!
One Human Community was and is a grassroots movement, a human community dedicated to peer support; a support group built on personal pride, human solidarity and the honor system.
There are governments, politics and economy all of which are somewhat abstract and way above our heads, but there are also individuals, the human power and the power of the human community. Let’s stop watching; let’s stop being afraid: neither poverty nor misfortune are contagious; let’s pull together and confront our real fears and unjustified anxieties as One Human Community. Better yet, let’s get together and PREVENT POVERTY with childhood education and tutoring, so the new generation won’t have to experience the same hardship as its parents!