Project Roomkey: Jon

Project Roomkey

Protecting Our Most At-risk Neighbors and Providing Employment Opportunities

As many across the nation eagerly await a time when we can shake a new acquaintance’s hand or even hug our own friends and family members, the last few months indicate that a return to any resemblance of “normal” may still be out of reach for some time. Extended safer-at-home orders are met with exasperation as well as an earnest desire to unify to curb the pandemic.

But for some, safer-at-home isn’t an easy option – including those who are providing essential services, as well as the combined estimate of 73,296 individuals in Orange and Los Angeles counties who are experiencing homelessness. Fortunately for some of our most at-risk neighbors, a program was created to help ensure this population’s safety and well-being during this time.

Job Searching & Emergency Relief for Chrysalis Clients during the Pandemic


The State of California, its Counties, and other municipalities have worked together to create solutions. Both Los Angeles and Orange counties have Project Roomkey sites; state-wide, the effort has provided temporary housing to nearly 10,000 individuals. The program is aimed at supporting unhoused individuals without symptoms or known exposure and who are at higher risk for serious illness due to age 65 years or older, or underlying chronic health conditions, to prevent their exposure to others.

The Project Roomkey program has also created employment opportunities for Chrysalis clients to deliver support services at these locations. Amidst an environment of jobs diminished by the pandemic, this program provides much-needed, essential transitional jobs for over 120 Chrysalis clients through partnerships with the City of Los Angeles as well as directly with organizations like the National Health Foundation.

As employers responded to the orders to close their doors, many of our clients were faced with lay-offs and uncertainty around when they would be able to return to work, if at all. Existing and new clients reached out over email and through our hotline, eager to connect to our virtual job-readiness support and to hear a reassuring voice. Partnerships with employers operating essential businesses and new opportunities like Project Roomkey have been vital in getting and keeping hundreds of Chrysalis clients working during this challenging time.

In August, we surveyed our Client Services team members about what they are hearing from the 3,700 clients accessing virtual services. Staff members reported that the majority of those who are able to work are actively seeking employment, regardless of any unemployment benefits they may be receiving. In a letter to the Los Angeles Times editor, Chrysalis President & CEO Mark Loranger shared what we were hearing from our clients and wrote, “Of those clients who are receiving unemployment, only a handful say they would prefer to stay on unemployment rather than returning to work – and those clients are either in a high-risk category and afraid for their health or have other challenging family situations that would make it difficult to return to work. The vast majority say they want to work. They enjoy the security and dignity that come with a steady job, need the income and benefits, and miss their colleagues.”

As an organization focused on employment, Chrysalis has continually updated our services with the evolving needs of our clients and the job market. Yet, as we adapted our service model in the face of the pandemic – which has historically been largely reliant on in-person interactions – we recognized the additional immediate needs our clients are facing at this time.

Thanks to our generous supporters who funded the Chrysalis COVID-19 Relief Fund, we have distributed nearly $300,000 for direct client aid in the form of gift cards for gas and groceries, assistance with transportation and home utilities, and more. We are also proud to share the following programmatic updates* since we decreased in-person services and shifted our services to a virtual model:

  • Through voice, text, email, and video, we have had interactive conversations with 3,629 of our clients since March, including 835 new clients who have engaged in virtual assessments.
  • 542 people have reported securing employment while receiving our services.
  • Each week, more than 450 individuals receive paychecks while working a transitional job
    with Chrysalis.

Though the road ahead is uncertain for all of us, we couldn’t be more grateful to those who have continued to pave the way to help us ensure our clients’ most basic needs are met and that vital employment opportunities continue to be available. Together, we will get through this.

*As of August 2020

Virtual Volunteer Spotlight: Stephen

When Chrysalis implemented a virtual program to continue delivering services to clients amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephen – having served our clients for over a year in-person – was eager to continue lending a helping hand from home.

He shares, “My company is a virtual office that handles most of our business remotely.” Happy that Chrysalis was able to develop a virtual version of our program so quickly, he was ready to continue to serve in this way.

As a hiring manager at his company, Stephen reviews hundreds of resumes and conducts a plethora of interviews on a daily basis. He knows that a resume or an interview can paint a picture for an employer, so he embraces that these previews of a job candidate are opportunities for clients to show how they will fit into the work setting.

One of his favorite parts of volunteering with Chrysalis is having the opportunity to meet and work with many different people, as well as the challenges that come with adjusting his approach for each individual. As he gets to know each client, he’s better able to understand their needs and how to tailor his approach, so he can meet those he serves exactly where they are.

He shares, “One of the most principal ideas I talk about is the idea of telling a story to whoever you’re talking to. Every client has a unique situation.”

Staying Apart yet Connected Through Online Events

Chrysalis Night InFor nearly two decades, our annual Butterfly Ball has kicked off with a bustling cocktail reception. Guests have stood shoulder to shoulder, snapped photos with friends old and new, and tried to catch a glimpse of their favorite actor or musician. The sounds of joyful conversations fill the air until Chrysalis volunteers and staff start ringing the bells – an indication for the crowd to make their way to the main event in the back.

While we did not get to share such an intimate space with you this year, we are all adapting and celebrate the unique fortune of being a part of some incredible virtual events: Chrysalis Night In and the Billy Harris Dinner Series featuring chef Curtis Stone.

In mid-May, Chrysalis and over 800 of our guests came together virtually with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Jon Favreau, Seth MacFarlane, Natasha Bedingfield, Max Greenfield, Zach Braff, Linda Perry, and more for Chrysalis Night In. Sponsored by Capital One, Disneyland Resort, Netflix, TruAmerica Multifamily & Benedict Canyon Equities, the exciting online event featured live musical performances, a house band, and comedy, raising over $425,000 to help our clients prepare for, find, and keep jobs!

Soon after, Chrysalis champion and celebrity chef Curtis Stone held two cooking demonstrations and dinners tied to his restaurants Gwen and Maude in support of our mission. Attendees tuned in from their home kitchens to prepare a five-course meal, guided by chef Stone, while enjoying musical performances and the company of their host, Billy Harris.

Though coming together looks a bit different right now, we look forward to the many ways we will continue to stay connected with you from a distance!

Working for 100

Spearheaded by our remarkable Orange County Advisory Council, Working for 100 is a grassroots campaign with the goal of helping 100 clients secure employment in 100 days while raising $100,000 in support of our mission to change lives through jobs. Kicked off by a generous donation from the Sun Family Foundation, the campaign is well underway – and there is still time to be a part of it!

Chrysalis leaders and community members understand that connecting individuals who are experiencing poverty and housing insecurity to employment is a vital step toward ending homelessness. Hear from these champions on our social media channels for a glimpse into their employment journeys and why Chrysalis’ work is near and dear to their hearts.

Working for 100

Join us for Working for 100!

Learn More and Donate:
Engage with Us:


Top Three Ways to Take Action in 2020


Your donation ensures that the more than 5,000 clients who will turn to Chrysalis for access to vital resources and support this year will be empowered in their journeys to find and retain employment.


Chrysalis has focused on employment for more than three decades, and we can tell you that employers have the opportunity to be great catalysts of change in our communities.


Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay connected and get all of the latest updates at Chrysalis!

Upcoming Events

October 20

Chrysalis Live Community Broadcast

Tune in to our next live Community Broadcast for the latest updates on our services and a panel discussion on voting in the 2020 election. RSVP here.

November 25-29
Turkey Trot (from home)

Each year, on Thanksgiving weekend, civic-minded individuals across Southern California traditionally gather together for a 5k run/walk through the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. Given the current safety restrictions due to COVID-19, the organizers of this year’s event have made two significant changes for 2020:

  • First, participants can run or walk wherever they are, which also means that people outside of Los Angeles can now participate.
  • Second, you now have five days (Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29) to complete your run or walk.

As in past years, Chrysalis will be setting up our own team – the Chrysalis Jobbing Club – which we invite you to join!

In October, we will send out a link to our registration page so you can sign up to participate in support of Chrysalis’ programs and services. Until then, please save the date and spread the word to your family and friends!

Summer 2021

Annual Butterfly Ball

Since 2002, the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball has raised over $18 million to support our programs, bringing together over 700 attendees from every sector of entertainment, business, and philanthropy.

View our Upcoming Events

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