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March 12, 2001

For More Information, Contact:
Jamille Moens at (916) 651-4011
or Deanna Sessums (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today his selection of Angel Batt, Executive Director of Clara-Mateo Alliance, as the 21st Assembly District’s Woman of the Year. 

Today marks the 15th Annual Woman of the Year event in the State Legislature – an occasion on which members of the Assembly and Senate select a woman from each of their respective districts to be recognized and honored as a Woman of the Year.  Batt was recognized for her good works in a formal ceremony today on the Assembly floor in the Capitol.  She and her fellow recipients were also feted in a reception held in the Capitol Rotunda.

“Angel Batt is a tireless and effective advocate for the homeless,” said Simitian.  “Angel’s work with the Clara-Mateo Alliance has ensured that thousands of people have safe shelter and the stability they need to rebuild their lives.”

Since it’s opening in 1997, the Clara-Mateo Alliance (CMA) has served thousands of individuals from both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties providing basic shelter for the homeless and individuals at risk of homelessness.  CMA also provides counseling, employment resources and job training, financial management, transportation, housing search assistance, advocacy to match clients with other available social services, and aftercare support to help those who have left CMA maintain their housing.

“This award will be shared with the many people who have helped Clara-Mateo Alliance become a leader in regional service delivery for those who are homeless and in need.  And that group certainly includes Assemblymember Joe Simitian,” said Batt.  “From the beginning, Joe has recognized that the problem of homelessness must be addressed regionally by the many municipalities that are equally effected.  It is only with his advocacy and that of so many other Bay area leaders that Clara-Mateo Alliance has, in four short years, helped over 1,700 people permanently end their homelessness.  I am touched by this award and deeply honored to have Joe as an ally and advocate for the solution we offer to a problem that is pervasive in our community.”

CMA targets under-served populations such as the physically disabled, medically frail, elderly and those with psychiatric and substance abuse problems.  CMA is located on the grounds of the Veteran Administration Palo Alto Health Care Facilities in Menlo Park.

Batt began at CMA as the sole social worker in 1997, and in less than two years, became its Executive Director.  The Salvation Army initially sponsored and provided fiscal oversight and management for CMA.  Under Batt’s leadership, however, CMA developed its non-profit status and was self-managing its shelter and service operations by 1999.

Continually encouraging her organization to do more, Batt ensured the shelter’s expansion from 40 to 60 beds, added a six-unit family wing for housing families with children, and is in the process of expanding the current transitional housing capacity from 6 to 24 units.  Over the past year alone CMA has housed 645 homeless individuals and provided 25,581 bed nights for people in need of shelter.  In addition, CMA recently received a $250,000 grant to launch a Day Service Center for Women and Children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  The day service operations are planned to open in early April of this year.

With no one organization able to tackle the problems of the homeless alone, Batt reached out to both public and private sectors creating partnerships with local and county governments, community service providers, individual citizens and corporations to work together in finding solutions and providing services.  Through her position on the Board of Directors with the Community Working Group, Batt created and now chairs the Committee on Homeless and At-Risk Women and Children – a task force comprised of 46 agencies.

Simitian first learned of Batt’s good work at Clara-Mateo during his tenure on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.  “Angel worked across geographic and political boundaries to help the Peninsula’s homeless.  And she helped strengthen a struggling organization to ensure its continued good work.  Community leaders like Angel help all of us remember that working together we can do big things,” said Simitian.  “In Angel’s case, she’s provided safe shelter to our neighborhood residents while putting them on track toward a permanent, decent, safe and affordable place to live.  I’m immensely proud to name Angel Batt as our Woman of the Year.”



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