FRESNO – A reception in downtown Fresno Monday (Aug. 20) night, attended by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, provided the perfect backdrop for PG&E to announce a $35,000 commitment to combat the city’s homelessness.
Donovan, who is also former chairman of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, was in town to help raise funds for Fresno First Steps Home. Fresno First Steps Home is a nonprofit launched to raise private funds to help address homelessness in the city of more than 510,000 people.
At the reception, Cindy Pollard, manager of government relations for PG&E in Fresno, read a quote from poet and author Maya Angelou: “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Pollard then announced PG&E’s $35,000 contribution for the program, and talked about how it is making a difference in the lives of those who need a helping hand.
“We believe in this program, and believe everyone deserves a safe place to call home,” she said.
Pollard’s remarks followed a very personal story from a homeless man named Karl Johnson who credited First Steps Home, and community support, with helping him on his journey toward self-sufficiency.
The recent pledge brings PG&E’s total commitment for the program to $85,000. In 2010, PG&E provided $50,000 to the United Way of Fresno County in support of the Fresno First Steps Home.
The reception was attended by 175 people at a downtown Fresno restaurant. It was hosted by Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who has championed the fund-raising effort, and generated $227,000 in pledges. The total pledged exceeded the night’s goal of raising $175,000.
In addition to Secretary Donovan, the event was attended by Congressman Jim Costa.