RUN Member Spotlight
Verica Mancich, RUN Community Leader
Verica has been a member of RUN since 2017. When asked why she joined, she says, “I joined because I want to give back to the community. I live in permanent supportive housing now, but I know what it means to be homeless. I know what it means to lose everything. I joined to help other people. Even though I didn’t have experience advocating, I felt I could be good for it.”
Feeling a sense of connection and compassion when she sees people living on the streets, she feels strongly that everyone should have stable housing. Verica shares, “I think ending homelessness is possible, but we need the funding and laws passed for it to happen. We’re the richest country in the world. People working minimum wage should be able to afford a safe home and basics like food. It’s possible to give the funds so people have a place to live…so they can have their own home.” Advocating to end homelessness, she was able to experience success soon after joining RUN.
Verica became a RUN member prior to California passing Propositions 1 and 2 in 2018. Proposition 1 authorized a $4 billion bond issuance for affordable housing while Proposition 2 authorized an additional $2 billion for supportive housing services for people living with chronic mental illness who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. She says, “I felt most powerful when we got Propositions 1 and 2 passed. We visited and talked with assembly members. I met Luz Rivas, my assembly representative in District 39. She listened. We helped to boost the bills. To have a government official support them was great.”
As a person with lived experience, Verica felt that it’s important for people who live in affordable housing to be at the decision-making table around housing and homelessness. They understand the daily challenges and the pain of struggling and having nothing. They can help officials understand their needs and what is most helpful. Speaking at in-district visits with legislators and other RUN members (via Zoom) fosters solidarity as they all work together to effect real change.
Verica appreciates being a part of a large and growing network of committed activists from virtually every corner of the state. She shares, “I learned that RUN has so many people ... who are passionate and so involved to end homelessness. We are volunteers. We work together. We have awesome people. I’ve learned that it’s a possibility to change the laws. I’ve learned that there is a way to reach government officials to change the laws and support RUN’s issues. It’s very possible to end homelessness. I believe and most of us believe that it’s possible to end homelessness.”
In addition, regularly gathering with RUN members has been a rewarding experience. She said, “It’s fun to organize with RUN over Zoom. Plus you don’t have to travel or pay for parking so it saves time and money.” Her advice for new RUN members is to be “very proud to be part of RUN. They will have time to learn what it is and give back to the community. They can get involved and help solve the homelessness issue in California.”