Meet our First to Serve Team
Richard Reed, Executive Director
In 2003, Richard Reed began setting the foundation for what would become First to Serve. The former maintenance man and parking attendant had struggled with his own addition for 15 years. However, after becoming a tobaccor educator and a pastor at the FAME Church in Los Angeles, he began looking for more ways to help out in his community. He partnered with Rev. John E. Cager, a senior pastor of Ward A.M.E Church Los Angeles to help build a grassroot program to help out clients with substance abuse problems, modeled after Rev. Cecil L. Murrays community outreach programs. Reed got the name "First to Serve" from a mural inside the FAME church.
Rick has been dedicated to working to combat the various issues in his community. Even when funding was an issue, Rick stayed committed and persisted. "I was funding this project out of pocket...I was so committed to the success of this project, I was never sure where the money would come from." A year after starting the program, Rick asked the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) for more resources to help grow the First to Serve program. There are now 13 locations across Los Angeles including, South L.A., Long Beach and West L.A. Rick now serves as the Executive Director.
Since 2003 First to Serve has focused on providing transitional housing, medical, and supportive services to homeless men, women and children in South Los Angeles, all while promoting family reunification, and supporting efforts to assist families in remaining intact. We have around 100 staff members serving an estimated 1000 individuals every night at any of our 13 locations across Los Angeles. We partner with the Dept. of Mental Health, LAHSA, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County to improve our community by providing competent and professional services to these underserved families.