A local student and his homeless charity are seeking the public’s help to locate a man who has been seen sleeping near Santa Monica City Hall.
14 years old Elliot Katz runs Reaching Out California from his home and the nonprofit undertakes projects to aid the Los Angeles homeless community. The organization is branching out to help a Canadian woman locate her missing brother who was recently seen in Santa Monica.
According to Katz, a woman named Ana Nunez contacted Reaching out last week for aid finding her brother Abraham Alfonso Oliva, who she said has been seen in Santa Monica close to City Hall. Abraham 61 years old, has some mental health issues but is otherwise sober. She said he used to live in North Hollywood with his mother but when his mother died, he was unable to secure housing for himself and became homeless.
Katz and his father searched Tongva Park recently but were unable to find Oliva. They have since turned to the local police department and the public for help finding him.
“If Abraham wants to go to Canada to be with Ana, Reaching Out California will pay for Abraham to get a passport and will also pay for him to get to Edmonton,” said Katz.”
Katz, who lives in Beverly Hills, founded Reaching Out California two years ago, at age 12, after regularly attending the Midnight Mission with his parents.
“I’d always look back and wonder in my head ways that I could help (the homeless) and change their lives around,” he said. “For my charity, I decided to help the homeless because I was struggling to have a project for my bar mitzvah and I decided I’d love to help the homeless.”
So far, the organization has taken on a diverse set of projects. He began with awareness videos that have reached more than 2.5 million views online. Katz worked with People Assisting The Homeless to furnish an apartment for a formerly homeless woman and worked with his middle school on a winter clothing drive. Katz has also organized an online auction feature local restaurants and created care packages for distribution on Skid Row.
The work has generated significant requests and he said he received more than 100 messages in the past three weeks.
“One included a girl who told us about how her mother died and her brother was seen in Santa Monica,” he said of reading Nunez’s first contact. “He became homeless after their mother died. My dad saw it and showed me we thought we could turn it into something big, it would be the biggest project we’d done. We went to Santa Monica but didn’t find him so we decided it would be much better if we had other eyes. We would fund his trip back to Canada where his sister lives.”
In addition to sleeping near City Hall, Oliva has also been seen back in North Hollywood, near the intersection of Magnolia and Laurel Canyon. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Katz at ReachingOutCalifornia@gmail.com. Visit www.reachingoutcalifornia.org for more information about the organization.