Teaming Up to Help the Homeless


First to Serve Board Chairman Pastor John Cager; St. Joseph Center Board Chair Kevin McCardle with President and CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum; Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas; and First to Serve Executive Director Rev. Richard Reed. All photos by Henry Salazar/Board of Supervisors

Two nonprofit organizations with a wide range of resources and experience have teamed up to serve the homeless in South Los Angeles, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was on hand at the grand opening of their new facility, the Broadway Manchester Service Center.

FullSizeRender[1] (2)“Both First to Serve and St. Joseph Center were created in response to a spiritual calling to serve the less fortunate,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “By co-locating together and pooling their resources, they are signaling their aim to do even more, in a collective fashion.”

At the Broadway Manchester Service Center, First to Serve and St. Joseph Center will work in tandem to provide comprehensive case management, mental health services and integrated social service programs in South Los Angeles.

“We are excited to be a part of that collaboration, of that spiritual root that can help this community,” said First to Serve executive director Rev. Richard Reed, who founded the organization with the help of his mentor, the Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray.

Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, president & CEO of St. Joseph Center, said it has been her goal to expand services to South Los Angeles. “There are already so many great things happening, great programs, services and agencies, but we really feel like we could also add to the mix and be a blessing.”

First To Serve  provides state-certified and licensed substance abuse and supportive housing facilities, as well as domestic violence housing for single women and women with children. It also participates annually in the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority-supported Winter Shelter Program.

St. Joseph Center was founded in Los Angeles by two Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1976. Separately incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1987, it now serves more than 6,500 men, women and children annually, offering outreach and engagement, housing, mental health, and education and vocational programs at multiple sites on the Westside and South Los Angeles.