College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Department of Social Work

Life Skills Education in Chinatown: Graduation Celebration

Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis, the Dean of CSUMB’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services gives a speech to participants at Moving On… Transitioning to Permanent Housing 1st Graduation celebration.

The program “Moving On…Transitioning to Permanent Housing,” offered through CSUMB’s Chinatown Community Learning Center (CCLC) is an excellent testament of possibilities. This four-week, comprehensive life skills and job readiness program builds a pathway for our CSUMB Master of Social Work interns in collaboration with Dorothy’s Place case managers, to assist Chinatown community members in their transition to subsidized housing. The first session included 24 clients who entered the program with a unique history. Most had been consistently homeless for more than two years and many were battling drug addiction, mental illness, neglect, abuse, dysfunction, and family loss.

These individuals were accepted into the program without judgment or any other dis-empowering view of their circumstances. Despite an number of personal obstacles, two cohorts persevered and graduated. Seven participants found stable housing. For example, a 65-year old man with debilitating health issues was housed with support services. A family of three spanning three generations moved into a subsidized apartment. To celebrate these accomplishments, several supporters including, City Councilwoman Gloria De La Rosa and CSUMB’s Dean Britt Rios-Ellis along with Dr. Seth Pollack attended the first graduation. Participants were awarded certificates of completion from CSUMB.

While we do not expect to solve the greater societal problems associated with homelessness, “Moving On…Transitioning to Permanent Housing,” shows great promise and CCLC is committed to continuing efforts to help community members rediscover their purpose and actualize their potential.

A core value of CSUMB’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services is to build lasting relationships to help ease the burden of homelessness. This is achieved by offering free psycho-education groups and life skills classes Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. MSW interns provide individual counseling and facilitate group sessions based on best practices. Collaborative Health and Human Service interns and Service Learning students offer life skills classes. Community partners and volunteers also participate in a learning partnership by facilitating Seeking Safety (Sun Street Centers), It’s a Go Until You Say No (Dorothy’s Place), and Bio for Life (Volunteer). For more information, contact Jacqui Smith at or 831-770-1700.

Tony Collins give a speech recognizing the graduates and their hard work at the 1st Moving On… Transitioning to Permanent Housing graduation at Chinatown Community Learning Center.
PHOTOGRAPHED with City Councilwoman Gloria De La Rosa (City of Salinas) is MSW student Elvia Perez. They Stopped for a photo at the 1st Graduation for Moving On.. Transitioning To Permanent Housing.