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Helping Hands/Basic Needs Center

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Welcome to the HELPING HANDS/BASIC NEEDS CENTER

The new Helping Hands/Basic Needs Center at Los Angeles Valley College is now offering an expansion of basic needs services that includes support for food, housing, technology, financial, transportation, personal hygiene, childcare, mental, physical, medical resources, and any related needs. Please learn about how we started, below.

Get Connected to Basic Needs Assistance

If you are a student in need at Los Angeles Valley College and would like to get connected to campus and community-based resources, please fill out the submission form.

Submission Form for students: https://tinyurl.com/lavcbasicneeds

*Disclaimer: The Helping Hands/Basic Needs Center at Los Angeles Valley College is not a housing or social service agency. We do not provide direct housing nor do we provide legal aid. We connect and help our students navigate resources in the community to alleviate their basic need challenges. To better understand the role of our center and basic needs coordinator, please see the new law recently passed in an effort to address basic need insecurity. 

LAVC employees can learn more about the Helping Hands/Basic Needs Center and refer a student on the internal SharePoint webpage.

Helping Hands Center/Basic Needs History

Helping Hands (HH) was established in 2003 when staff members were alerted to assist a homeless student living on-campus with her young child.  Many departments worked in collaboration to obtain resources and assist her in securing housing and other necessities for her child.  Over time, many other students experiencing similar issues were referred. As a result, the departments decided to develop a fund through the LAVC Foundation that would provide immediate access to resources.  

While the HH fund through the LAVC Foundation will continue to be run out of the CalWORKs office, the Helping Hands Center is evolving to become a centralized hub on campus assisting students experiencing any form of basic need insecurity. Thanks to the new legislation AB 132, we have hired a full-time Basic Needs Counselor/Coordinator, Juan Castellanos, who will assist in expanding what was once a program operated by dedicated volunteers in the CalWORKs office to a center open to over 15,000 students. Learn more about Juan below.

We are proud of our rich history and what’s to come from our Center and our partnerships with both on- and off-campus resources. In collaboration with CalWORKs, the Family Resource Center, and many other departments on campus, we will continue to serve students and meet their fundamental needs.

LAVC Helping Hands/Basic Needs Center Counselor Coordinator

Juan Castellanos

Picture of Juan

After transferring to California State University, Los Angeles, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and continued his education at California State University, Northridge, where he earned a master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Services.Born and raised in South LA and El Monte, Juan is a first-generation college student who attended public schools, proudly graduated from a continuation high school, and then attended Rio Hondo Community College.

Juan's focus and specialization is working with special populations. Equity and student success are at the forefront of his work. He has previously worked with students at Rio Hondo College, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and East Los Angeles College in the following programs: Basic Needs, formerly incarcerated (system impacted) scholars, EOPS/CARE/NEXTUP, Guardian scholars, Dreamers, and LGBTQIA+.

Juan can be reached at castelj@lavc.edu or at (818) 778-5965. His office is temporarily located in the Student Union building, 2nd Floor, Room #207. We recommend that you schedule an appointment before visiting Juan to ensure he can devote his full attention to you.

 Updated 6/1/22