I was a resident at the Reynaissance Family Center, run and operated by the "Christian" Help Center. They are neither a faith-based, or clean and sober program. The case management is a joke, and they routinely toss out folks that "dont fit in". Besides the food kitchen and shelter being shut down by the health department and code enforcement, the folks that run the place are two-bit thieves who skim public and private funds, and (I have heard with my own ears) pressure clients into selling their personal information for who-knows-what. Terrible place.
The Christian Help Center has been in existence for 30 years. This is a caring homeless shelter, which has provided thousands of beds for those who are without a place to sleep and/or eat. The Center provides breakfast, lunch and dinner - not only to their guests, but to others in the community who need an emergency meal. Every Saturday the Center gives 50-60 bags of groceries to the community. A public restroom with shower is provided for the homeless who are in the streets or encampments. They provide casemanagement to help the clients progress from having nothing to becoming employed and finding housing. The organization does not discriminate against persons of color, religion, disability, gender, or sexual preferences. Spiritual guidance is offered, but not mandatory. This is a "working shelter", meaning that all guests are required to help maintain the facilities. This also helps people gain their self-respect and dignity, knowing that they are "giving back", rather than just "taking".
I have been involved with the Christian Help Center since it began, and the best thing about it is seeing how people's lives change. People who end up on the street often are in deep despair, and lose the sense of how to live normal lives. The Center meets their immediate need for food, shelter and hygiene, but also provides counseling, job training, anger management, and other skills they need to move back into normal life. There are special facilities for homeless minors. The idea for the Center emerged from a prayer group and has all along been part of a walk with the Lord for us. We believe this is why we have been able to do so much with so little, though we have also been blessed with wonderful donors.
They were kinda enough to help me with a school project while I was working towards by BFA. They where very generous with there time and allow me to ask as many questions as I needed in order to finish my project for school. They gave me great feed back that allow me to learn and sharpen my skills as a designer. It is a wonderful organization filled with generous and loving people trying very hard to help those who need it the most.
I have been a Board Member for 4 years and have seen the lives that have been transformed because of the generous support of the community for this very vital community service. Yes, the CHC offers shelter and food for the homeless, but it also offers spiritual food for those whose wish to partake. The sharing and caring of everyone that walks through those doors is so embraced by all. We truly see miracles daily, as sometimes the funds are so low, and with the generosity of all we are able to continue this mission of love.
As a health educator, with a specific passion for nutrition and physical activity education, I have trained the Executive Director (Ms. Norma Ramos), the Administrative Assistant (Mrs. Carolyn Burrell), and staff of the Christian Help Center to deliver Healthy Eating and Active Living lessons to CHC guests and residents. The staff was very attentive during the training and very enthusiastic about equipping their clients with healthy lifestyle information. This desire to empower their clients with healthy lifestyle information is indicative of the Christian Help Center's commitment to addressing the whole person and creating healthy, productive citizens who can not only impact their own lives, but the lives of those around them, as well.
Christian Help Center is the only homeless shelter in Vallejo, California whose population is over 76,000 people. Wtih the economy getting worse, they are serving an increased demand for their services. They not only house the homeless but train them to become productive citizens by providing job training and others. They serve meals for all people who are in need. This is the City's safety net for the people who are unfortunate to have lost a home, job or anything else depending on the indvidual's need. Some of the people who seek their srvices are gainfully employed but is not enough for their support. In excahnge for the homeless to be sgheltered, they volunteer to lend a hand in some or all fo the Center's needs and activities. I have seen some homeless people who were served become employees or volunteers.
CHC not only provides emergency shelter for the homeless, but also provides wholistic services to serve the total individual.In addition to feeding and food/goods distributions,they provide referrals through casemanagement services to meet the individual's needs, whatever it might be (SSI application; resume writing; job referrals; bills/landlords disputes; spiritual support; health concerns, etc.) With Christian influence, which permeates how everyone of all religions, sexual orientation, age and disabilities are compasstionately treated, the transformation of people's lives become testimonials of their success as they transition to self sufficiency and independence. It is interesting to see the bond former "guests" have with the shelter. Most return to become volunteers to serve others who come through the door.