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Project Homeless Connect

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The mission of Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is to connect San Franciscans experiencing homelessness with the resources they need to move forward. Project Homeless Connect (PHC), a national best practice model, originated in San Francisco under Mayor Gavin Newsom in October 2004. Today, PHC is emulated in 170 cities across the United States as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. Every other month over 1000 community volunteers partner with city government, non-profits and the private sector to provide a one-stop shop of health and human services for individuals who are homeless in San Francisco. Services include medical, mental health, substance abuse, dental, SSI benefits, legal counseling, eyeglasses, California ID, food, voice mail, employment counseling and job placement, wheelchair repair and more. As of September 2008, 18,600 volunteers have provided services to 26,600 San Franciscans experiencing homelessness.

Results: Project Homeless Connect is one of the most innovative partnerships between a city, its residents and its sectors. Project Homeless Connect has been adopted by the National Department of Housing and Development as as a National Best Practice model, and has been copied in over 220 cities across the United States in addition to engaging over 20,000 volunteers from San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia have also adopted Project Homeless Connect as a model towards ending homelessness. For more information visit: www.projecthomelessconnect.org

Target demographics: people experiencing homelessness & at risk of experiencing homelessness

Geographic areas served: San Francisco

Programs: acupuncture treatments, banking service consultations, benefits enrollment, dental services, employment services, eye exams and prescription glasses, hearing screenings, family services, lunches, groceries, haircuts, HIV/Hepatitis C/STI testing and linkage to care, housing information & assessment for Coordinated Entry, DMV State IDs, legal services, massages, medical services & linkage to primary care, behavioral health (including substance abuse treatment & methadone), harm reduction services including needle exchange, podiatry treatment, shelter reservations & stabilization housing, veteran services, pet services, phone calls & voicemail, photo portraits, chiropractic care, adult probation, wheelchair repair, and more

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Carolina G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WE WISHING YOU THE LIGHT OF HOPE THAT KEEPS THE FUTURE BRIGHT! ALSO WE'RE SENDING YOU A SPECIAL PRAYER THAT BLESS YOUR LIFE WITH PEACE, JOY AND LOVE IN THE NAME OF LORD FOR TODAY AND ALWAYS. WISHING YOU A CHRISTMAS BLESSED BY GOD'S ETERNAL LIGHT! WE ARE HERE TO HELP OTHER TO BRING THIS LIFE A HOPE A BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL IN ONE TO ASSIST THEM AND HELP THEM WITH ALL THE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE HEALING OF OTHERS! GOD HELP YOU FOR TO PUT ALL EFFORD FOR THE HEALING UNDER THE HUNGER OF OTHER! CG AGENCY TE OFRECE SU AYUDA POR ESTAR PONIENDO TODOS LOS ESFUERZOS POR LA CURACIÓN EN CONFORMIDAD POR EL HAMBRE DE LOS OTROS!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at my first PHC event a year and a half ago and was AMAZED by the number, and variety of services offered. The other main thing I noticed was that the volunteers were well integrated into the consumer population and were, for the most part, providing a much needed service to many clients, someone to talk to. I have since had the privlidge to intern with PHC. It has been a wonderful, eye-opening, experience that I have learned alot from. A great Non-Profit!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Homeless Connect is a great way to address the problem of homelessness. The workers are extremely helpful and the services are so diverse that every homeless person who comes there can find something that they need. Despite this, I can’t help but feel that if I needed to choose between Project Homeless Connect every two months and a clinic with regular hours, I would choose the clinic. The reason for this is that Project Homeless is so infrequent that this makes it difficult for a person to get everything they need when they come in. First they need to stand in line to even get into the building. Once this problem is solved, they need to find where their particular needs are located in the building. Even with staff helping, its difficult to get around with so many people. Another problem is that once you get into the building and you find where your particular services are, you have to wait in line once again to use the services. The problem with this is that if you don’t get everything done in time you need to wait another two months to get the chance to try and to finish everything else up. Some people may come in hungry and by eating they may be wasting precious time that they could have spent standing in line to get their ID cards at the DMV. Although Project Homeless has its problems it also has may benefits that clinics may not have. It is convenient that all the services are in one building and that you don’t need to go far to get a haircut or Vision check up. A clinic would need to have the services spread out more if it could offer the same services at all. The clinic would also require that you wait in lines, however you would be more likely to get services sooner because if you miss one day you can always comeback another day. Project Homeless as well as the clinic would have their own problems and benefits, but the important thing is that they would both be very helpful to the people they service regardless of how frequent they are available. Thank you for letting us come to help and see for ourselves the wonderful services you provide! Kat94102

5

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I really enjoyed participating in Project Homeless Connect. Although I have volunteered at homeless shelters like St. Anthony’s in the Tenderloin, I have never experienced anything like this. My job at Project Homeless Connect was a transporter, in that I was responsible for getting the participants from the registration room to their priority destination, whether that be shelter information, vision, DMV, and so on. Even though I only got to spend a maximum of about five minutes per person, I was able to engage in enlightening conversations and be attentive to these people that genuinely needed my help. I felt good about myself. It definitely changed my perspective of homeless people and their lifestyle. I realized that these people are just like any of us, they have feelings, needs, wants, and desires just like we do. And I was honored to be a part of a project like this that can possibly turn some of these people’s lives around. If I would have to choose between a clinic that was open regular hours or Project Homeless Connect that was only available to me every two months, I would undoubtedly choose Project Homeless Connect. Although a clinic may be open, say 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday, their services would most likely be limited. A clinic can only do so much. One specific clinic can only provide health services, another can offer shelter information, and another can educate on needle sterilization. The point is, not one shelter can provide all the services Project Homeless can at once. Granted it is only twice a month, however, twice a month, one can have a vision check up, rapid HIV testing, food, groceries, spiritual healing, DMV services, and even acupuncture. I believe this is a more effective way to help the homeless.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Participating in Project Homeless Connect brought what always seemed like a far distant concern, much closer to home. You hear about the large homeless population in the Bay Area all the time. You see countless stories on the news regarding the need for more shelters and resources as our economy takes a treacherous downturn and dozens of people are losing their jobs daily. But never could I imagine that standing in front of a homeless person could reinforce just how fortunate I am. Team USF took on two roles at this particular event. One was to escort homeless individuals into the auditorium to seek the services they had requested. The other was to assist the homeless clients with the completion of a mandatory intake form before they could participate in these free services. I spent the first half volunteering as an escort for the client. The available services included medical treatment, mental health services, vision and podiatry services, shelter, and housing and employment opportunities. Many people assume that a homeless person lacks the necessary skills to succeed in life. They are presumed to be lazy or addicted to illegal substances, but on the day of our team’s volunteer efforts, I saw a wide variety of HUMANS that were lost and in grave need of support. Homelessness has no boundaries with regard to age, gender, ethnicity or educational background. The youngest person I met was 22 years of age, and had been sleeping on the streets of the Tenderloin since it was the closest neighborhood to Glide Memorial Church, where he frequently sought comfort and assistance. After being laid off of his job and losing his apartment, he was desperately seeking shelter, clothing, and assistance with employment. How did he get to this place in life? Although he had been homeless had living on the streets for only a couple of months, the wear and tear of that life had visibly aged him. The oldest homeless individuals I met were a couple in their late fifties. It was obvious that they were each other’s support systems. They both wanted to seek shelter, DMV services, medical services, and food. They had been living on the streets as a married couple for years and considered themselves fortunate to be receiving the services provided by Project Homeless Connect. Were these services providing them a means to an end? Were these homeless individuals truly getting what they needed to assist them towards a better quality of life? If so, why had they been living on the streets for so long? Halfway through my day, I assisted other volunteers (at folding tables) with the mandatory intake process of all individuals seeking services that day. This provided me a greater opportunity to connect with the homeless on a one to one basis. Through this experience, I learned that not only were individuals distraught and embarrassed about their current living situation, but many did not know what services to ask for or which ones to prioritize. Unfortunately, it appeared that many were suffering from high levels of emotional and physical disparities. I found myself, out of concern for the individuals’ best interest, trying to encourage several people to seek the assistance from the medical or mental health service areas first. Much to my dissatisfaction, most of them were concerned with receiving DMV services and a free lunch. I began to wonder, if I were in their shoes, would I be most concerned about getting food in my stomach instead of seeking the medical care I obviously needed? It appeared as if several of these individuals either didn’t see them as needing medical assistance or were afraid of what that assistance would entail. From my clinical vantage point, I observed that several people smelled of alcohol, appeared shaky and unsteady, feverish or congested, and disoriented or confused about what day it was or what services would provide them the best help. Perhaps the thought that resonated with me the most at the end of the day was what happens to these individuals from here? With no phone to call them on and no address to follow up with, do they simply return to their alleyway and survive the harsh city climate? How many of these individuals seen at this event will overcome the adversity they are faced with? Although I think it is empowering and shows a tremendous sense of compassion for our community to put on an event of this magnitude, I hope that there is a way to create a better follow-up process with the necessary medical care and emotional support. I wonder if the homeless participants should be required to undergo a medical assessment prior to seeking the other services offered. It would be great if there were a basic software system that could track those individuals through thumb scans upon medical check-in to ensure that they have received proper follow-up health care when they return to Project Homeless Connect for future services. Overall, my experience was educational, enlightening, and humbling to say the least. I am grateful for the opportunities I have, the family that cares for me, the economic status I enjoy, and most importantly for my health and well-being. Although there may be no easy and quick answer to the hardships fellow members of our community endure, as long as we have members of our community that continue to care and seek reasonable answers, each and every homeless person has a chance at a happier and healthier tomorrow. Mrs. Nader

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The project homeless event on Feb 11 th was an eye opening for me. The event brought together hundreds of volunteers, sponsors and public, private organizations to help thousands of homeless people in a single day. Services include medical, mental health, substance abuse, housing, dental, SSI benefits, legal counseling, eyeglasses, California ID, food, voicemail, employment counseling, telephone service, and job placement provided. I work as escort taking clients from the registration area to their first service and in a couple of occasion I had to stay with my client who is using wheelchair to go around. The client Mr. “A” was very courteous and appreciative. I learn that project homeless connect started in San Francisco in 2004 and now 170 more similar services are started in different parts of the country. Most of the services are given in free clinics or other social programs as I learned from most of the clients who I had a chance to talk to; these individuals are not going to these other services because of different problems. Some mentioned it takes a long time and some don’t have permanent address and means of communication to make appointments to the service agencies. The one day service at the project homeless connect provided different services in timely fashion and most agencies that usually are not found in same place like they are arranged at the event. That makes things easier for them to access the services and it also encouraging. Volunteering at the Project Homeless Connect helps me to appreciate what I have and also understand there are more elements to homelessness and it is a very complicated issue. I also met reformed homeless individuals who is giving back to the community and making good examples to others.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is a wonderful program for the homeless in San Francisco. It is amazing how many services are offered at the events for people to utilize. The available services include access to housing, shelters, medical services, and legal advice. The clients seemed to be grateful to have a program such as Project Homeless Connect and it is great to hear that some former clients have found a way to re-assimilate into the community and they are now able to be volunteers themselves and give to others what PHC has given to them. I especially appreciate that PHC offers not just services, but also opportunities to the clients so that they may be able to get back on their feet. For instance, clients could inquire on how they can find employment. I was glad to see that the service of rehabilitation and detox for addiction was available by PHC. It is not easy to break an addiction, but if the clients decide to actively seek help, then PHC is there to aid them in their journey. I do not believe that PHC will reinforce homelessness, because it is only offered every couple of months and that is not often enough for a person thrive on. - HV

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dear Project Homeless Connect Team, I am student at USF, who volunteered at the Project Homeless Connect in February. I greatly appreciate the wonderful services that were provided for everyone. I believe that it is very helpful for people who can’t afford proper health care. I was escorting everyone to their destination in the auditorium. While I was escorting, it gave me a chance to meet different types of people with many different health needs. At times, I felt that too much needed to be done in the limited amount of time. Many people wished to get many services done in one day, but the lines were too long. The housing service was a great help to many of the homeless clients. Overall, Project Homeless Connect was a great place to receive free care. If I had a choice to pick between clinic with regular hours or Project Homeless Connect, I would choose a regular clinic, because it will allow me to spend more time with patients and also be able to do follow-up appointments. I only have been in nursing program for a couple of months, but I have already noticed the importance of privacy and therapeutic communication. I believe if we want to help someone to get better, we should be able to do a follow-up, in order to allow health professional to evaluate their interventions. Follow-ups are required until treatment has succeeded and the patient has returned to their normal functions. When a patient actually realizes that their health is improving, they will eventually return to the clinic to complete their treatment. I really believe that if the problem doesn’t get resolved, then we haven’t met our goal as healthcare professionals. Therefore, we need to work towards a goal that will solve the problem completely. Student, Carry

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sal Dali It seems to me that the question on hand should not be whether Project Homeless Connect ameliorates or reinforces homelessness, but rather: Is this an adequate way to provide healthcare and other services to an underprivileged part of our society? We should focus our time on what Project Homeless Connect achieves and how it comes across. The experience that I was offered was one never to be forgotten. Having worked with this population before, I was quite excited to be there. I was immediately impressed with immensity of this undertaking; the Bill Graham Auditorium packed with services just for the homeless is a striking sight. There are a handful of organizations throughout the Tenderloin and San Francisco, that offer free or sliding scale healthcare services. On some levels, these services get used extremely well, but, at the same time, they don’t. There are many reasons that would prevent someone from wanting to, or being able to get services at our free clinics when they need them, for instance, people could have a hard time getting appointments. Many people need services immediately and when they reach out, they are given an appointment date for several weeks later. If they need some form of emergency services, they are lucky if they receive a free token to ride the bus to SF General. For one reason or another, most of those who do get appointments have a hard time showing up or following through at the right time. At project homeless connect, there is no right or wrong time as long as you make it there on the right day: almost everyone will be able to see a healthcare provider if they need help. Most importantly, there is a broad spectrum of services being offered, which is very impressive. There are nurses, doctors, podiatrists, obstetricians, HIV rapid testing, food, clothing, psychiatric services, identification services, housing services, and much more. I feel this is a great way to reach out to the homeless, because all of this is under one roof. In the clinical world, providing these services for someone could take weeks—with multiple appointments and several different locations. I commend Project Homeless Connect for making this whole process easier. It is great that a person can have so many needs met all in one place; I saw many people taking advantage of this. I talked to many people at the health fair that were very excited to be there and looked forewords to taking advantage of as many services as they could. There were also those that were just trying to get out of the rain for the day. Should this type of health care be offered to everyone? Probably, not. Health care should have more than one dimension. For many, going having a primary care provider works well. They make an appointment, they show-up, and they follow through. This has been a proven model. But there are many that the traditional healthcare model doesn’t help, as noted earlier. Project Homeless Connect is a new form of healthcare, or at least new to us in San Francisco, which uses a great system that is catering to the needs of those that have a harder time getting these services elsewhere. It is quite an innovative idea for this demographic. It is quite appropriate that we use this type of system and it has been long in the making. I hope in the future that healthcare evolves more and that this type of comprehensive care can be offered more often. Although I don’t know exactly what it takes to pull off a project like Project Homeless Connect, I can only imagine how complicated it is. For that, I take my hat off, especially to those that have probably spent hundreds of hours to ensure that this model works well. Judging by the quality of care that I saw, coupled with the excitement of those that were to receive it as well as the excitement of those providing, I walked away with the feeling that this model is really helping the clients. So when I asked myself: “Does this ameliorate or reinforce homelessness?” I couldn’t help but think that the question should be: “Is this helping people become healthier?” When I asked myself that, I thought, yes, this is really helping homeless people in more ways than one. Not only does this project help people with health-related issues, but it also lets many less fortunate people feel and know that they are important, and that many sincerely care about them and their wellbeing. I felt extremely proud to have been able to participate in this event, even if it was only on a basic level. I felt that all levels of participation are needed to make this event work properly. I can’t wait to participate in Project Homeless Connect again and look forward to being able to be a part of this helpful process.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteering with Project Homeless Connect was a great experience. This program offers assistance with housing, legal issues, health care, and many other basic needs to the homeless population. I played a role in assisting clients by giving directions and escorting them to the areas where they were able to get food, services, and whatever else they needed. In return, they were very grateful for the assistance that was provided to them on my behalf. Today, the challenges that we face are substantially greater than those of the past. The lack of affordable housing, health insurance cutbacks, reduced public assistance, and unaffordable are all contributing factors to evident increase in the homeless population. Thus, homeless individuals struggle even more on a daily basis with the repercussions of unmet basic needs for security, shelter, and stability. That is why Project Homeless Connect is there to reach out for the basic needs of the homeless population. It is a program that increases access to services for the homeless people and to engage local communities in finding solutions for homelessness. Moreover, it displays broad community support to those who are homeless. If I had the opportunity, I would choose to work for Project Homeless Connect rather than a regular clinic for every two months. I believe that this program puts more emphasis on getting things done in one day, unlike a regular clinic. In addition, I would have the wonderful opportunity to work for people, who wish to receive the proper care. Finally, I would definitely want to work with the Project Homeless Connect again if I ever get the chance to. I felt so committed and dedicated in assisting the homeless clients. I felt as if I made a positive difference in the lives of the homeless men, women, and children. It was truly a pleasure and I would love to serve again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great pleasure of working at Project Homeless Connect (PHC) with my classmates from the USF nursing program. In our capacity as Client Support Escorts, we greeted, checked in, and escorted clients to their first appointment of the day. I found the experience both humbling and exhilarating. Most often a homeless person on the street is someone to walk around and not engage with. By interacting directly with the homeless population of San Francisco, your perceptions are challenged and, in this case, I can say the outcome was positive. It is humbling to be reminded how fortunate I am to live the life that I do and not have to take the food and shelter I have for granted. Because we are nurses in training, it is exhilarating to be out of the classroom and doing something tangible to enhance our experience towards the goal of nursing. We were surrounded for the entire day by positive examples of what a nurse can do, especially in the arena of public health nursing. Does offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services reinforce or ameliorate homelessness? This question is a tough one. My personal belief is that homelessness is a reality and a serious public health concern. Because of that, PHC plays a vital role in keeping our city and county a safer place. So…I answer the question with a resounding YES it does ameliorate homelessness, it makes something unsatisfactory better. According to the PHC website, over 2,000 people attend the February event and used the services provided. To me that is truly amazing. The experience was so positive that it has made me rethink about my current goal of becoming an emergency room nurse and further explore public health nursing. It is impossible to sum up the experience any better than what another volunteer said: “The show of people gathered together in a harmony of selflessness, talents, motivations, and trust is a reason to go to PHC.” The ability to see the assistance in overwhelming numbers shows what we can accomplish together. Thank you Professor Cuttler, USF nursing administration, and PHC personal for letting us contribute to this amazing event. I had the great pleasure of working at Project Homeless Connect (PHC) with my classmates from the USF nursing program. In our capacity as Client Support Escorts, we greeted, checked in, and escorted clients to their first appointment of the day. I found the experience both humbling and exhilarating. Most often a homeless person on the street is someone to walk around and not engage with. By interacting directly with the homeless population of San Francisco, your perceptions are challenged and, in this case, I can say the outcome was positive. It is humbling to be reminded how fortunate I am to live the life that I do and not have to take the food and shelter I have for granted. Because we are nurses in training, it is exhilarating to be out of the classroom and doing something tangible to enhance our experience towards the goal of nursing. We were surrounded for the entire day by positive examples of what a nurse can do, especially in the arena of public health nursing. Does offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services reinforce or ameliorate homelessness? This question is a tough one. My personal belief is that homelessness is a reality and a serious public health concern. Because of that, PHC plays a vital role in keeping our city and county a safer place. So…I answer the question with a resounding YES it does ameliorate homelessness, it makes something unsatisfactory better. According to the PHC website, over 2,000 people attend the February event and used the services provided. To me that is truly amazing. The experience was so positive that it has made me rethink about my current goal of becoming an emergency room nurse and further explore public health nursing. It is impossible to sum up the experience any better than what another volunteer said: “The show of people gathered together in a harmony of selflessness, talents, motivations, and trust is a reason to go to PHC.” The ability to see the assistance in overwhelming numbers shows what we can accomplish together. Thank you Professor Cuttler, USF nursing administration, and PHC personal for letting us contribute to this amazing event.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated in Project Homeless Connect with about 60 classmates from the University of San Francisco. I was assigned to escort the family care section. This section was specifically designed for homeless or troubled families to bypass the long line and have more specific areas addressed for them. Families were introduced to schooling, daycare, and other family needs, along with the organizations available to the homeless population. While I helped parents look into these organizations, their children could eat, color, and play in a little daycare-like center, set up for them with other volunteers. Walking around and helping people allowed me to witness how much Project Homeless Connect offered and home many people they were able to serve. It really showed me how this country is in a recession and its dramatic effect on people's lives. I feel that even something as simple as free under-one-roof comprehensive services helps alleviate the stresses that some homeless might encounter by providing somewhere warm to stay and some food to eat. During a recession, more people are becoming homeless; however, the recession also creates a greater budget problems for organizations helping the homeless. I think Project Homeless Connect is an excellent way to help the homeless try and get back on their feet. They offer so many services and serve so many people in just one day. Since Project Homeless Connect does so much for people in need, I would say it is just as important as a clinic with regular hours. Even though, Project Homeless Connect is not available on a weekly basis, I still think it is a vital organization available to the homeless. Project Homeless Connect showed me how San Francisco is doing there best to help the people who need help the most. It provides a plethora of services along with inspiration and hope. I am so glad I was able to partake in Project Homeless Connect.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The fact that today’s economy is on the brink of recession, homelessness in San Francisco, and all over America for that matter, has been on the rise. Services to help the homeless have become more important during times much like these. If I had to choose between a clinic with regular hours or Project Homeless Connect every two months, it would be a difficult choice if I did not weigh the pros and cons of each. Each service has its advantages and disadvantages. A clinic would be a beneficial service for the simple fact that help is offered almost every day rather than once every two months. However, on the downside, a clinic can only offer so much before running out of supplies. Therefore, volunteers and employees would need the necessary funding to keep the clinic running. As for Project Homeless Connect, the two-month period would give ample time to raise money and gather the necessary help to provide service for the homeless. The disadvantage with such set-up would be the amount of time that the homeless community needs to wait for service. If I were one of the individuals, who needed these types of services I would prefer a clinic with regular hours. If this type of health care was available, I think many other people would choose this as well. People would probably prefer a regular clinic, because of the immediate care they would receive and would not have to wait two months before receiving help again. A clinic that is offered with regular hours would also greatly decrease the amount of people needing help all at the same time. By offering a clinic that is available with regular hours, volunteers and employees will be able to avoid big crowds and long lines, which are often seen at Project Homeless Connect. I understand that in today’s economy, this would be a very hard, time consuming, and an expensive process, but I think it would be more beneficial. However, regardless of what kind of service is provided, helping the community should be the main priority and I think Project Homeless Connect is one of the prime examples of doing such. By offering free healthcare service under one roof, the homeless community is provided with a sense of support. They are able to look around and realize that they are not on their own. They will see other people are here to help, regardless of age, ethnicity, sex, religion, or sexual orientation. They will see people who care, and that’s exactly what services like Project Homeless Connect bring.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Homeless Connect is a valuable resource for the marginalized homeless population in San Francisco. It is a good model for a small town fallen victim to the recent budget cuts, but I would rather have a clinic with regular hours that provided a one roof service than a colossal event every 2 months. Although something is better than nothing, there were too many people, wanting the same services at the same time. For example, I had a client that wanted his teeth pulled, but my client could not get the service because no more vouchers were available It was problematic to my client, because he was in the middle of the line, rather than the front. My client was unable to spend the night in front of the auditorium, and by the time he was able to check in, the vouchers were all gone. I think they were all gone within two hours. A regular clinic would be much more effective, because the clinic would not get a big rush of hundreds or thousands of people wanting help. Instead the client turn would be more spread out and wouldn't be so frantic or such a long wait. But that would only be possible if the city and governments' budgets would be more generous. Another problem that surfaced was the lack of housing opportunities. There was an informational booth, but the clients who had previous services from the last Project Homeless Connect relayed tat the information was insufficient. The clients felt that they can get brochures anywhere and what they really needed was a concrete place to stay. My clients expressed that they did not want another piece of paper or someone telling them what they already knew or had already gotten from another shelter. As a volunteer, I wanted to know more about the services as well, not just the names. For instance, there was a bus ticket home opportunity, which I would have liked to know more about. None of my clients wanted it, and some expressed a deep aversion to it. I would probably feel more comfortable with the knowledge about the assistance each of the stations provides, so I could help the clients with prioritizing or directing them where they should go. Overall my experience at Project Homeless Connect was great. I felt good doing something for the homeless population and I am glad I got the opportunity to be a part of the team. I also think that it is really important and effective to have resources under one roof, especially if the target population does not have money or has trouble getting around the city. I hope to volunteer more for Project Homeless Connect and, in two and half years, I hope to volunteer my services as a new grad nurse! Sincerely, Chandler Bing

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect serves as a solid example of how to serve needs of the growing homeless population. With the failing economy and increased state budget problems, it is clear that services like Project Homeless Connect are in great need. If I had to choose between a clinic that was open daily and the amenities offered every other month through Project Homeless Connect, I would choose Project Homeless Connect. This huge accumulation of resources serves to be much more effective than one small clinic that would specify in only one resource. Project Homeless Connect offers a variety of resources that one single clinic cannot offer. It is very hard to find medical care, social services, housing companies, and attorneys in one building, let alone with in walking distance of one another. By having all of these things available, it proves to be much more cost effective. The only suggestion I would make is for Project Homeless Connect to happen more often, maybe monthly instead. Other than that, I believe that Project Homeless Connect has a greater impact in such times of a budget crisis than a single clinic could provide. -ARD

3

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Project Homeless Connect seems like a good idea, but, when you get there, it is just line of people, who appear to be waiting forever. It seemed like the clients were just waiting. I went to look around and there was a three-page list of people who wanted to get their hair cut at 11:30am. The lady in charge of that area said to a man: “I’ll take your name, but we probably won’t get to you.” The DMV line was even longer than actually going to the DMV. The main services that most people wanted, like eye check ups and dentist visits, ran out of appointments fast; most people did not even get chance to see the dentist. The area for foot care was overwhelmed with people, appearing to be a highly needed service to them. Also, I feel like giving food to the volunteers is unnecessary; they should use that food to give it to the needy. Beforehand, I was uncomfortable around homeless people. However, with this experience, I actually talked to some of the clientele, who were very nice and shook my hand. When I got my volunteer sandwich, I was trying to find one of these nice people to give them to, but it was impossible with all the people in the auditorium. I feel that providing these services might make people want to stay homeless, because why work to get all these services, if they are offered for free by PHC; when one could just go get a free CA ID, why pay $30 for it at the DMV. The people I talked to mostly were not looking for housing, but for identification cards and insurance services. If I was homeless, I would rather go to a regular clinic, opened on a daily basis, to seek treatment for my problems rather than wait for Project Homeless Connect every two months. Waiting a few hours at a clinic is much shorter than waiting months for the next PHC event to happen. This was a great experience though, for I feel like I learned things about the homeless population.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Prior to attending Project Homeless Connect, I honestly felt a mixture of apprehensiveness and excitement towards the event. I have volunteered in similar services before so I already had an idea of what was to come. The event was really great and I learned a lot from it because it allowed me to put myself in the shoes of those who actually needed the services. Seeing the other side gave me a different perspective and I have gained even more respect for those who are going through extremely tough times in their lives. In working the event, I learned firsthand that everyone truly is the same and every individual you meet in life is just like you. It is not only a positive function for the homeless, but also for the volunteers and workers. I feel that offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services ameliorates homelessness because it allows the people to find everything they need all at once. It is a difficult task to take on all the hardships you are facing in life when you don't have the resources readily available. Having every service open to you under one roof allows you to get everything done without great hassle. The clients are then able to take the initiative in helping themselves and become that much closer to improving their situations. Also, the comprehensive services give the clients the chance to see that they are not alone in their situations. Seeing their friends, as well as strangers, going through the same circumstances allows them to act as a support for each other. It is always easier to get through tough times when you have support from others. In my opinion, the services of a clinic with regular hours and the services of Project Homeless Connect every two months are both favorable to those in need. A regular clinic would offer more opportunities for those seeking help because the clinic would be able to reach more people due to its regular hours. However, it would not have as much of a supportive environment as that of the events of Project Homeless Connect because people would not be able to come as groups. Project Homeless Connect allows people to gather together and work for the common cause of helping themselves. Being surrounded by a number of people who are experiencing the same things that you are and seeing that they are still trying to move forward regardless of their circumstances serves as motivation to move forward as well. Although Project Homeless Connect may be unable to accommodate the needs of every single person in a single event, the comprehensive services are beneficial to the clients. Also, the event itself is very positive and it allows the clients to interact in a caring environment. They are able to enjoy themselves in a positive setting, which may be something they don't really get to do everyday. I think people would choose this comprehensive services model for all individuals. The best part about it is that it is really convenient. Having the services of DMV, doctor, optometrist, masseuse, housing, and many others all in one area saves people a lot of trouble of having to find a way to get to each place. Not only would it save people time and trouble, but it would also save them money for transportation.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lina-Mara Project Homeless Connect (PHC) Critical Evaluation: With the economy at its ultimate low and the unfortunate times under way, it is an inspiration to witness the humanity of Project Homeless Connect (P.H.C.). I had the privilege of volunteering for the first time and getting a first hand look at the collective processes and team effort that keeps the program running efficiently. My experience in taking part in such an exceptional program, as a check-in volunteer, has provided me with a greater, more holistic perspective over this rising issue of homelessness in our society. Providing free under-one-roof comprehensive services for an overwhelming population of homeless individuals, as well as families, definitely is one of the much needed steps toward ameliorating homelessness. While some may feel that providing numerous services for the homeless population every few months actually reinforces homelessness, it is necessary to consider the homeless as humans--whether they are fortunate enough to provide for themselves and/or their families or not-- humanity and humility are terms that mean a lot more when they are observed in action. This idea of taking action is an area that we ought to be more concerned with, rather than the idea of reinforcing homelessness. In these rough times, it is necessary for us to be thankful for the blessings that surround us, as well as be generous by serving such blessings to those in need. My experience has taught me that a little effort from a lot of volunteers and dedicated staff goes a long way. Although clinics may serve as another form of care, ultimately I believe P.H.C. is a genius project that aims to serve as many as possible, with a wide range of services and a large group of compassionate volunteers and staff. The key to this project is not to get people off the street as much as it is to show people that humility still exists in the midst of their struggles. My experience with the various clients, was nothing short of life changing. To come face to face with homelessness as opposed to judging from the outside, granted me much needed perspective and understanding. My passion to serve my fellow people is a passion that has been largely nurtured by P.H.C. Although the issues facing the homeless population are not easy to tackle and overcome, it is reassuring to know that efforts to serve will not die off--not as long as P.H.C. leads the way. Progress demands action--which is the essence of Project Homeless Connect.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoy volunteering at Project Homeless Connect because I got to interact with a variety of individuals and also help people that are in need. I would enjoy volunteering again in the near future. I believe that offering free under- one- roof comprehensive services ameliorate homelessness by helping them not live on the streets. Project Homeless Connect helps homeless individuals find a place to live, so that they do not need to spend the night on the streets during this cold and rainy season. In addition, the medical care services, offered at PHC, help lower the spread of illness to the community that the homeless community might contract, such as the flu, hepatitis B, and TB; these conditions require healthcare that the homeless will not be able to afford. Such healthcare services help homeless individuals reach an optimal level of well-being. I truly do not believe that Project Homeless Connect helps to reinforce homelessness, because why would someone want to live on the streets with no food or job as a choice in order to receive free services? Being homeless sometimes is not by choice, but instead due to tough circumstances that one cannot control, such as job loss. If healthcare was available using this model for all individuals, I think people would choose it, because many people now have lost their jobs and thus, also their healthcare benefits. Many people cannot afford health insurance without job security, because of the high monthly costs. Therefore, people would take advantage of the type of service, since it is a free service. Also, the people would not have to worry about their socioeconomic status. If this service was offered to the general public, I would take advantage of it, because I cannot afford healthcare insurance and I don’t qualify for Medicaid either.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My volunteer work at Homeless Connect on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, happened to be one of the most fulfilling assignments that I have participated in. It availed me the opportunity to serve and make a positive contribution to the society. I believe that offering free under- one –roof comprehensive service helps to relieve homelessness. The activity might not solve the entire homelessness problem but, the efforts and dedication of the organizers has an immense and immeasurable outcome. Along with working at a regular clinic, I would love to volunteer with Project Homeless Connect every other month. Also, I believe that if health care is available using this model for all individuals, most people would prefer to use a private health care services rather than the Homeless Connect model due to its insufficient availability of some vital services such as dental and vision. With the economic turmoil the United States is facing now, I do not support the idea of cutting down the services for the homeless population. Ignoring the destitute population in our society is not an option, because the adverse effects outweigh the benefit. However, numerous benefits are accrued from providing good and essential services to the homeless, such as shelter, dental, vision, drug counseling, food, and clothing services. Making such services available to the homeless will curb most problems including: domestic violence spread of diseases, littering, crime, sicknesses and death. Attending to the needs of the homeless will reinstate their sense of belonging, self- dignity and even inspire them to make a positive change for themselves. Knowing that someone care about them can be a powerful force to navigate them from homelessness to shelter and eventually to the workforce. Alias Ch A.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think the Project Homeless Connect is very helpful in dealing with homelessness, but of course there are always things that can be done better. It is very helpful for the homeless client to be able to come to the building and get free services, but once every two months may not be enough. I understand that there have been budget cuts, like there has been with everything, but some fund raising could be done to help these homeless individuals more. Project Homeless Connect should happen at least once a month instead of once every two months. This project is very important in helping the homeless get back on their feet. There are dental and vision services that can help the homeless be ready physically to apply for a job. There were some people who showed up, who said that if they just had better teeth then they could get a job. The available health services are great too, because the homeless clients can receive a flu shot, get tested for HIV, get their blood pressure check and several other health services for free that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Besides healthcare services: banking, counseling, needle exchange, DMV IDs, food and housing services were also available. All the services offered at PHC allow homeless individuals to change their lifestyles. Counseling can help the homeless deal with any problems they have. PHC not only helps homeless clients solve their problems, but also better prepares them to make the transition to working at a job or moving into a home. This is why it’s important for Project Homeless Connect to work on raising money, so that they could offer their services to homeless individuals more often. This is a great project that is helping tremendously and could continue to do so much more for the homeless population.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe that Project Homeless Connect was a huge success. With our current economy problems and increasing number of the homeless, the services offered at Project Homeless Connect were very helpful; especially because of the variety of services being offered. I personally believe that offering all these services under one roof helps reduce homelessness. With the wide variety of services being offered, a person was able to get the proper attention they needed without going to numerous places within the city; everything was held under one roof. I also believe that there was a great level of comfort; a person would be able to go to a station, like DMV, and not feel bad because of their situation. All the departments that were there were not judgmental, they were truly there to offer their services and help in whatever way they could. I believe that if health care was offered in such a way like Project Homeless Connect, where it is accessible to everyone, all the services were under one roof and only occurred every couple months, some people would chose it and some wouldn’t. It is very convenient to have all services offered in one place and very helpful since it would be accessible to everyone; however, it may be an inconvenience for some if they were unable to attend on the day it was being held or if were unable to get to the specific location. A big pro to the situation would be the accessibility to everyone. People of all different economic status would be able to receive the proper and needed health care. I believe that the large amount of people who cannot afford health care is a big problem in our society. So overall, I think it would be beneficial to our society to have health care offered in this way. Alias: snreez

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe that offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services will improve homelessness. I think programs, like Project Homeless Connect, are great ways to help get people off the streets. It is convenient for the clients that all the services are offered in one place, because no one really has to worry about traveling far or having to rush from one place to another. Homeless people might find it difficult and discouraging to seek services at various buildings, especially in big city such as San Francisco. The available services at PHC are absolutely amazing and range anywhere from wheelchair repair, to haircuts, to getting a DMV identification card. Just to see the reactions on people’s faces was great. Many of them were so thrilled to have everything they needed under one roof and free! What more could they want? I don’t necessarily think that having Project Homeless Connect will help all the homeless people, but I think it will help many. Most of them are just looking for help and just don’t know where to look. The volunteers and staff I met were so friendly and so patient. They definitely made this a great experience, not just for myself, but also for all the homeless people as well. In all honesty, there are many people that want to change, and there are some people that in reality just like the way they live and don’t want to change. Project Homeless Connect helps make homeless people aware that there is help out there and there are people that are willing to put in their time and effort to help them out. Upon leaving the event, my friend and I were walking across the street, when this group of homeless people came up to us and really let us know how happy people, like us, make them feel. They applauded us, which really made me feel like I had given something special to people in need. Not only do I think that Project Homeless Connect is a great way to get some people off the streets, but also that if we were to have a clinic with regular hours, it would drastically help the homeless community. Just to see how many people were at PHC was shocking. I understand there are budget problems at the moment, but I think that having a clinic that is open regularly with normal hours would help make homeless people aware that they need to change…they need to change for themselves! Living a life on the streets is horrible for themselves and their families. These people are vulnerable to so many diseases; so many hard times: nights in the rain, lack of food, lack of shelter, and lack of clothes. They need to be helped and they need places to go, where they can get clothes, aid with shelters, and food. By us showing and giving them a reason to change their lifestyles around, I know many of them would be willing to get off the streets. Sure some are not, but at least they know and we know that there is a chance to change and improve their lifestyles; the rest is just up to them. For example, Planned Parenthood is helping to reduce the abortion rate and pregnancy rate. Free services are available for those who cannot afford things and I think the same should be done with the homeless population. In the end, if we want change, we are the ones that are going to have to do something about it, because many of these homeless people are just not willing to do it alone, but if the opportunity arises…who knows! I think it is a risk we should take, because, in the end, hopefully the homeless population will decrease drastically and people will be off the streets, protected from the rain, eating food, getting haircuts, and getting tested for certain diseases; what a difference this would make! If one PHC event can help over a thousand individuals, imagine what a regular clinic can achieve!

27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With the current budget concerns, I would choose Project Homeless Connect over a daily community clinic with regular hours, because so many more important services as well as healthcare are offered on a regular basis. Project Homeless Connect is a great idea that has already, and will continue to help many of the homeless citizens of San Francisco by offering many services that aren’t easily available to them on an every day basis. As funding becomes more of a concern due to growing deficits in both the state and city budget, I think that it is of paramount importance to continue to offer services like these to the homeless people of our city. The homeless population’s health and well-being is of as much importance as any other citizen’s; perhaps even more important because they are at higher risk for many health issues. Letting these risks go unchecked by removing programs such as Project Homeless Connect can not only cause harm to homeless citizens, but can continue to damage the financial strength of the city and state through increased costs due to a higher incidence of health problems in the homeless population. Citizen Kane

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nice picture. ))) Don’t you think that people on the photo look very happy? Why? And who are they? First of all, it is mayor of San Francisco at the famous event of Project Homeless Connect that occurs only once every two months. Secondly, there are two volunteers from USF, who had their first experience with PHC. Although these individuals had different responsibilities on the Project Homeless Connect, they all have the same goal to help and make others happier. A chance to volunteer on the Project Homeless Connect, on February 11th, expanded my range of interest and gave me the idea how helpful this project is for people who really need the help. Although it is called Project Homeless Connect, clients don’t need to be homeless to attend the event. Many people are involved with PHC in order to volunteer helping clients to get their basic needs like social security, DMV, living, and medical services. It was an excellent idea to offer lunch, where people can even choose what kind of food they wanted, vegetarian or meat, and provide products for people to take home with them. Talking to the clients helped me changed my attitude toward them. It was very inspiring to see that most of them have great personalities, desire to talk, and even share stories about their hard lives. I was impressed to talk to them, because most of them have interesting stories. Many of the clients have lost their homes, as a result of the economic situation in the country; they need to solve their living problem. It was really sad to look at their unhappy faces when they realized that no more vacant rooms were left for them. Project Homeless Connect provides hope for people, because it makes everyone happy: people who need help and people who are ready to offer their help. Help doesn’t necessary need to be financial. A smile or small talk can help a person to open up and share their problems. These are important components that can help to make somebody’s life happier at that moment; this is my motto. I have no preferences between a regular clinic or PHC, for both help homeless individuals. These are two different settings with different responsibilities, but the purpose is the same to help, to care, and to make people’s lives better.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Project Homeless Connect was a very unique experience. They provided an array of services for the homeless population, including medical, dental, ID services, and methadone rehab. While I think that this is a great idea, several things could be improved. I noticed that the services that offered a place to live, such as homeless shelters or women shelters, weren’t available. Granted many shelters have too many people already to accommodate, I think that not having more services that offer housing at the event reinforces homelessness. This is because Project Homeless Connect provides opportunities for these homeless people to get medical attention, apply for Medicare, and do various other things, but these services don’t help them get off the street; that’s not to say that these things aren’t important to provide. When I arrived there that morning, there was a line of people waiting for Project Homeless Connect to open that went around the block. All day, there was a constant flow of people waiting in line and meandering around the auditorium. There were many services that were offered, but due to the great influx of people that came there, only a limited number of clients actually received them. For example, to see a dentist you had to have a voucher, due to the limited number of spots available. While I think Project Homeless Connect offers some great services, I think these homeless people might benefit more from a clinic that is open with regular hours than attending some grand event every two months. I think they would be able to offer more services to more people if they had a clinic open with regular hours on a daily basis. For instance, more people might be able to see a dentist or doctor if it were open regularly, rather than having a limited number of spots for people to use those services once every two months. I think it's a really great service and should be continued!

22 yanich

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Project Homeless Connect, on February 11th, 2009, during the morning shift. I was amazed by the available services and the amount of people that attend the event. I was really touched by the fact that homeless people were being given an opportunity to get a lot of essential services, especially visual and dental, for free. Not only are poor people given an opportunity to use free services, but they are also given a chance to communicate with volunteers, nurses, and doctors, and feel cared for. Especially surprising to me was the visit of San Francisco Mayor Newsom, who showed that he cares about people in San Francisco and is willing to continue helping them. I think that if healthcare was available to all individuals using this model, people would choose it, because it is very expensive for a lot of people to have a health insurance now, and thus, they end up not going to the doctors or dental office for regular check ups. With the free services available every two months, people would definitely use them. On the other hand, it sounds unrealistic to have services like this available to everyone in the city, because there would be a lot of people who would use them and not be enough staff and volunteers to assist everyone. Although I liked the services provided at Project Homeless Connect, I think there are a couple of things that could be improved. By the end of my shift, I was escorting a lot of clients to the dental service desk and they got really upset when they found out that there were no more appointments available for that day. Some of them were waiting in line since the early morning just for dental check up. Project Homeless Connect is an important event for a lot of homeless people. Therefore, I hope that the city of San Francisco will continue sponsoring this event and also increase the number of available spots for each of the services.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In the city of San Francisco, where the homeless population is so high, the Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is a great program to ameliorate homelessness. As a volunteer escort, I assisted clients to the location of their needed services. I noticed that most of the homeless individuals attending the program were very content and anxious to be there. They were very concerned as to whether they made it early enough to get the services that they wanted. Some services available were medical, mental health, substance abuse, housing, dental, SSI benefits, legal counseling, eyeglasses, California IDs, food, voicemail, employment counseling and job placement, and wheelchair repair. The housing and shelter services were probably the most popular due to the lack of space for all the homeless to stay at. From being in an unhealthy living environment, many homeless clients experienced mental and medical problems. By living on the streets, many homeless people are associated with drug abuse. Most of the needed help of this vulnerable population can be found at PHC. These free under-one-roof comprehensive services ameliorate homelessness because some of the services allow the homeless to turn their lives around by offering employment services. By getting employed, the homeless can start to save up money to buy or rent a home and live a happier life. For example, if a homeless person is addicted to drugs, the reason may be because it makes them happier while they’re living on the streets. Therefore, at PHC, they can get healthier by becoming drug-free with the help of substance abuse services. If I had to choose between a clinic with regular hours or Project Homeless Connect every two months, I would choose PHC, because by volunteering here, I feel like I can make a difference. The homeless really needs our help so that they can get back on their feet again: live in a home, work at a job, and live happily. Before I volunteered at PHC, I was always afraid of homeless people, because I was scared that they’ll harass me or harm me in some way. But after the experience of working with the homeless at PHC, I realized that all they wanted was for people to acknowledge the fact that they exist and that they were normal people that just needed help. This experience drastically changed my perspective towards the homeless population.

26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first encounter at Project Homeless Connect was a mind-opening, incredibly satisfying experience. I was amazed at the high volume of PHC volunteers, over 1000. Expecting to see only homeless people there for services, I was astounded that not just homeless people, but people from all walks of life were there. Just one experience at Project Homeless Connect has brought a new sense of reality to me. Many people in San Francisco– the homeless and those who are in financial hardship utilize Project Homeless Connect. Project Homeless Connect offers numerous needed services, such as dental services, DMV identification, eyeglasses, family services, food, HIV testing, housing information, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, needle exchange, acupuncture, massage, and even veterinary services for their pets. In my opinion, offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services is a step towards ameliorating homelessness. There are those that choose to stay homeless and those that truly want help. Project Homeless Connect provides services to help those that want to get off the streets. This program is a stepping-stone in helping individuals, who would not know where to begin in efforts to get back on their feet. For those that choose to live the life that they are currently living, Project Homeless Connect is providing them not only with essential health services, but also with the knowledge on where to get the help if ever they choose to turn around.

26

Volunteer

Rating: 4

After having the chance to volunteer with Project Homeless Connect, I have a better understanding of why organizations like this one are not only valuable to those in need but also the entire community of San Francisco. I think offering free services to homeless people does not promote homelessness, but instead helps to ease the continuing problems we have with this issue. As each individual is assisted based on what they thought were relevant to their own health, this contributes to the positive outcome on the whole community. When one person is helped with a certain illness this can decrease the spread of illness in the community and increase awareness about the illness. Educating and providing the clients at Project Homeless Connect with the basics of an identification card to reading glasses will serve the city of San Francisco as a whole. This is improving the quality of the general public’s health in San Francisco. The homeless people who come for the services are just as involved and important in our community compared to everyone else, and just because they are homeless, this does not mean that they deserve it nor chose to be homeless. Project Homeless Connect displays the message that everyone deserves to be educated about their health and receive the necessary healthcare, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or gender; this shows that they truly care for each individual. If this organization provided services to all individuals, I definitely think that people would take advantage of the service. Although some may not enjoy the long waits and possibility of not getting access to all the services they need, they would still be able to get other services. Also, I think that if this was available, it would help lower class individuals, who cannot afford health insurance; these individuals need to be focus on too. People in this category may suffer in various ways. For example, a $20 co-pay for a hospital visit may not seem a lot to many people, but that $20 can affect a day’s meal for a lower class individual. Also, people and families in this category are between the fine line where they make more then what the government considers low-income but not enough to provide the basic needs they have. There are many resources out there but it’s hard to access them if clients do not have the connections. If a program was set up like Project Homeless Connect, where information about housing, medical care and other services is provided, it will be more easily accessed. Also, by having someone who the clients can speak to, it will enable a sense of faith and trust because they can express any concerns and voice any questions they may have regarding their situation. Also, other people may seek out this resource because it can simply save them money. Especially with the economy today, free services like the ones offered at Project Homeless Connect will give quality care to those who need and want it.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect was a great experience. It was unbelievable to see how much help these clients needed. The clients were very pleased with these types of services that were available to them at no cost. I believe offerings free under-one-roof comprehensive services solve the homelessness. This service supports them in their desperate needs. I think Project Homeless Connect helps solve the homelessness issue. They provide agencies that help them write a resume and find a job. They offer housing information that will help them get off the streets. They come from having nothing besides the clothes on their back. Project Homeless Connect gives them food, medical attention, supplies, clothes, information. These offerings allow every homeless to get help and advice in San Francisco. San Francisco has decreased services for the homeless because of budget problems. If I had to choose between a clinic with regular hours or Project Homeless Connect every two months I would choose Project Homeless Connect. Project Homeless Connect allows every homeless no matter what condition or circumstance to get the help they need. In a clinic with regular hours not every homeless may be able to attend. The clinic may be small and not provide services Project Homeless Connect does. If health care was available using this model for all individuals, I do think people would choose it. The main reason would be that the health care is free. Health care is either very expensive or hard to obtain. A large reason why people are in bad health is because they are unable to obtain health care. Health care is very important. I am very pleased that Project Homeless Connect has sponsors that provided free services. Especially now, due to the economic crisis, there has been an increase in homelessness. It is very important to keep those people in mind and provide free under-one-roof services, because it really benefits them.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 4

After volunteering at Project Homeless Connect as an escort, it was great to see that so many necessary services and recreational services were being provided for so many individuals, who were in less than ideal situations, such as homelessness. Offering these many services all in one place helps improve the situation that homeless individuals are experiencing, whether or not it be emotionally, physically, psychologically, and/or spiritually. For example, the clients of Project Homeless Connect get the opportunity to talk to people, which may be very important to a particular client especially if he or she has not spoken to someone in days or even weeks. That simple act of communication brings them back to society, especially if homelessness has made them outcasts, and it can help boost that client’s moral, which can improve their emotion from sad to happy, and maybe even boost their spirituality by comprehending that act of kindness as a blessing. Providing all of these services under one roof lessens the burden of inaccessibility and distance that these individuals must face occasionally, if not regularly, and this luxury that Project Homeless Connect gives these people can reduce the length of time and circumstance of being homeless. The service of making food and groceries available without any expense saves an individual’s time and effort. The help that was provided allows them to feed themselves and their families, instead of trying to find work that does not even allow them to pay the bills and housing, let alone buy that food that was given for free at this organization. It is the simple necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter that we, as very fortunate people, take for granted, that it is not realized by the majority of people how difficult it is to obtain them without the proper resources, and the proper support. It is the convenience and hospitality that Project Homeless Connect offers that helps many unfortunate individuals avoid, even just for one day, the struggle of surviving.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Having witnessed firsthand both the services offered and the clients at Project Homeless Connect, it is my opinion that the program is both well received and beneficial to the community of San Francisco. I do not believe, as some may argue, that the endeavor perpetuates the problem of homelessness. The mental state that many of the clients exhibit suggests that they are incapable of seeking and maintaining a stable life, let alone securing their own healthcare. Does one then ignore the needs of those unable to care for themselves or, rather, ought one provide an opportunity for these needs to be met? Clearly the many healthcare professionals volunteering their time and expertise display a genuine concern for their community and are to be lauded for their efforts. While Project Homeless Connect is indeed praiseworthy, a certain program promoted as treatment for drug addicts is however questionable. The practice of exchanging needles, formerly known as Needle Exchange, is held by some to reduce the risk of spreading HIV; the logic being held in the assumption that those who are given clean needles will be less likely to share dirty ones, thus reducing the chances of contracting and spreading the virus. I find fault with this logic on two fronts. First, principally our protest of illegal drug use should be universal, and upheld through our actions. Therefore, in disagreeing with illegal drug use we cannot inadvertently condone it through the means of remedying another evil, the spread of HIV. In other words, the end does not justify the means. Secondly, as stated before, many of the homeless clientele are mentally incapable of rationally taking care of themselves, as evident through their drug use. If they are not responsible in one area of health, what gives the impression that they will be responsible in other areas of health; for example not reusing the clean ones given? Further, giving clean needles to drug users may detour one or two incidents of HIV spread, but one is unable to inject a drug when one lacks the means to do it; thus how many less drug injections would be possible without the supplying of a syringe? Some may argue that where there are drugs to be injected there will be the means to do it. The certitude of this statement is unknown, however, it is certain that if you supply a syringe, illegal drug use will definitely occur.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Without a doubt, Project Homeless Connect(PHC) was a commendable event put forth in downtown San Francisco. Not only does this event provide all the basic necessities to help out those who need assistance, but also allowed a place for many people to come together and feel as if the community does care about those who need help. Offering free under-one-roof comprehensive services does help encourage the less fortunate to try harder, to want a better life, and gives them a sense of desire to get what they deserve and not settle for anything less. To some extent it does motivate and inspire the less fortunate, because this event shows that everyone matters and that money does not define a person, but rather the quality and the values that construct a person’s character is more important. This optimism may not be what is occurring through the process of this event; however the optimism is not far from what PHC has to offer. This project does not fix a problem, it does not heal the pain that the homeless may be suffering, nor does it offer anything long-term. Project Homeless Connect is great, because it helps kick start the building of a foundation that the homeless can use to create a better future for themselves. They are able to find assistance when they need it and this event helps by showing them where to look for it. If I were to choose whether to have a clinic open with regular hours or have Project Homeless Connect every two months, I would choose to have Project Homeless Connect. PHC is more helpful than a clinic, because a clinic can only offer so many services at one time. PHC has a variety of specialists, from varying fields, and the homeless can utilize a variety of services all at once, instead of going to one clinic, getting help for one thing, and having to search somewhere else for help with their other issues. If this health care model was offered for all individuals, then there is a chance that people would love to use this service due to its convenience. Having everything all in one place could save a lot of time. It is appealing, because it is like the concept of “one stop shopping,” where people do not have to waste gas going from place to place, going from one service to the next; they can get all that they want in one place. The convenience is a big plus; however, one limitation is not having a say or choice in who provides them the particular service.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at Project Homeless Connect was an enjoyable experience. Beforehand, I had no idea what to expect or what exactly I was going to be doing as a volunteer. But upon entering the site, I was well-informed of my duties and the services offered in the building. I was very impressed after reviewing the map of the services and locating the actual site on the main floor. There were so many services offered from medical and shelter services to DMV and food services, all under one roof! I was glad to see these services, offered on certain days throughout the year, in this big event, not to the wealthy, but to the homeless. It was great. The comprehensive services offered for free under-one-roof definitely improves homelessness. Considering the vastness of homeless people in the world, Project Homeless Connect indeed ameliorates homelessness in the area, even if just a little at a time. It’s a helping hand that is rarely ever given. This event gives the homeless the opportunity to attend the event and to experience what is normally offered to people for a price. It is a wonderful service to offer. I found it very interesting that not only does this place give food for a day, it offers services that last for a long time, services relevant to one’s recovery from poverty and are stepping stools for those with absolutely nothing. I found from talking to some of the homeless clients that they’ve attended before and continue to come. They said how thankful they were that such an event occurs. Those coming for the first time also were a little amazed at all that was offered and took advantage of the available services. Experiencing the gratitude of each client for my escorting and the services offered really made my day and overall experience well worth every minute. I am very proud to have been able to be a part of the event, alongside the many volunteers that had caring mindsets.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Homeless Connect of San Francisco seems like an effective program that improves homelessness by providing various services all under one roof. On the other hand, there are still many people who believe that offering free services, like Project Homeless Connect, just reinforces homelessness. For those people, I would recommend spending a day volunteering at Project Homeless Connect to see first hand how many individuals, family and children these services indeed help. To illustrate, Project Homeless Connect 26 provided service to about 2,225 people, which is a great amount for helping out in one day. Furthermore, due to budget problems, many services have already been cut for the homeless population. Therefore, I feel Project Homeless Connect makes up for that by providing a variety of services to clients. For example, unlike a clinic with regular hours, Project Homeless Connect helps individuals find housing, jobs, get haircuts, receive medical and dental care, banking assistance, DMV, wheelchair repair, podiatry, needle exchange, and veteran services. So If I had to choose between the two, I would choose Project Homeless, because, after my many interactions with clients, I found that most were concerned with finding and receiving housing/shelter, food, and identification cards. In addition, the outcomes of Project Homeless Connect 26 reveal that the services most used were the 300 phone calls and letters mailed to family and friends and receiving California state identification. This information portrays that individuals are seeking a new start by first trying to attain the necessary foundations to do so. Although medical is extremely important and was used quite a lot, clients still need more than that in order to pull themselves out of homelessness. One client in particular, J.B., specifically attended Project Homeless Connect for the housing and DMV services. He voiced to me that he did not need medical care, but instead shelter services were most important to him. Also, a volunteer, who was a former client at Project Homeless Connect, is living proof that one can rise above and utilize these services to make a new life. In addition, there was also a family there with a young child, which made me realize that a clinic alone will just not do; these individuals need well-rounded services more often. Homelessness is an epidemic. At the end of the day, Project Homeless Connect is a great first step to helping individuals gain there life back by providing them not just free services, because it is their right to receive them, but also provides new beginnings.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience in participating at Project Homeless Connect was very positive. I believe the Project Homeless Connect helps with the homeless situation in San Francisco. For people who are in need of assistance, it is truly a one-stop shop. The event was very well-organized and provided a wide-spectrum of services for the attendees, which I feel helps them make a move for the better. If services such as Project Homeless Connect did not exist many people, who are trying to get back on their feet, would have a harder time doing so. The event was able to assist people medically, find them shelter, and provide them with employment opportunities. There were a large number of services at this event, making it easier for someone to have all of their needs met. If Project Homeless Connect did not have all the services that is provides under one roof, it would be very hard for people to take care of certain aspects of their lives, while being homeless is hard enough. Although Project Homeless Connect is an event that makes positive changes in people lives, if healthcare was available using this model, I don’t think the majority of people would use it. People are very set in their ways and the transition from seeing a primary doctor behind closed doors is very different from seeing one in an open setting, like at Project Homeless Connect. Also, if the whole population were to have the same model for healthcare, it would be difficult to see a doctor or have other specific needs taken care of in a timely manner. I do believe that if I had to chose between a clinic with regular hours and Project Homeless Connect every two months due to budget restraints, I would choose Project Homeless Connect. There are so many more services being offered at one time, and there are not many places that will have a wheelchair repair area, a distribution of food, free phone calls to loved ones, transportation services, and medical services available in a small radius. A clinic would only be able to provide medical services, yet Project Homeless Connect offers much more.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Homeless Connect was a positive event that allowed many individuals to access care that would not be readily available to them otherwise. Not only were there many altruistic individuals staffed at the event, the available services were essential. These were services available through other means, but they were all in one central area. This allowed individuals to access all of the services they might need, in one convenient location. This in itself was a great service, because finding all necessary services would be nearly impossible for an individual if it was held at multiple locations, if not at least exhausting. I believe that Project Homeless Connect should be available every day. I do not think that once every two months is sufficient, for such services need to be available more often. Although the current situation is obviously very helpful, it is certainly not enough. There should be a permanent location for Project Homeless Connect to operate and provide all of the same services. The services provided are of the type that may need to be accessed more often than once every two months. Establishing a permanent location would solve this problem, and then would provide an even greater service to the community. Jerry Lewis

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was so impressed with the whole idea of Project Homeless Connect (PHC). When I first entered the auditorium, I felt so overwhelmed and hopeful. I was also very happy to see so many medical professionals donating their time and efforts to PHC. After volunteering with PHC my hopes are that once I graduate as a nurse I too can volunteer my skills to help PHC more, or other organizations like it. When our group arrived, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect of my time there. However, once jobs were divvied out and I was settled into my position doing triage, I got into the swing of things. The time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to go. Offering health care in this way to those less fortunate is a great start. I understand that San Francisco may not be able to keep funding services such as these. This was disappointing news, as I feel we were all doing the community a great service. I only perceive one downfall of offering services in this fashion, the lack of privacy. If I were in the same circumstances, the thought of having to go through so many people, in such a wide open space, and try to actually seek help for something so private as addiction (which some may be ashamed of) may be more difficult if there were people I knew from my community who may judge me for seeking such help. There were many who went through my line that could have used so many more of the services that were offered. However most did not, because of fearing judgment of the person they either came with or were sitting next to, they denied services they obviously wanted, such as a free bus ticket home. The only way things could possibly be remedied in the future would be to provide the clients with more privacy. For instance, in the triage area, anyone sitting within hearing distance would know what services their neighbor was requesting. This in turn could force some clients to refrain from asking for the help they really needed or wanted. A different option could be a community clinic that offered the same services. It would have to be well advertised to the population that needed the services most and remain free and open at hours that would benefit the community. The difficulty would lie in finding people to be available for those hours on a regular basis. Perhaps working at the clinic could be a part of nurses’ and/or doctors’ educational training, a type of "residency", in order to get a feel of what it will be like once we graduate and find ourselves in larger hospital settings. The services would be free and it would be staffed by students who were near graduation and were aware of the most recent knowledge in their field of study. I look forward to volunteering once again at PHC with a few other classmates and will hopefully be there again soon.

21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect was a unique and gratifying experience. This project represents a group of people in the community, coming together to make a difference to those who are in most need and impact the lives of the disadvantaged. It is truly impressive to see volunteers, students, and numerous organizations offering their services. This project represents the City of San Francisco’s recognition of the community needs and a population that is often forgotten; the homeless and chronically poor. As a student volunteering from the University of San Francisco, I was able to assist in checking people in and offering various services, including: vision, dental, health care, insurance, DMV ID’s, hair cuts, food, shelter information, acupuncture, massage, and HIV testing. In my opinion, Project Homeless Connect offered more services in one day than most clinics, open 5 days a week, can provide. It is an all-in-one event that provides comprehensive evaluations and essential services to people, who may not have the resources or knowledge to pursue otherwise. For me to be able to help the less fortunate and demonstrate my concern for this community is not only personally fulfilling, but it also makes a world of difference to those individuals that I was able to help. At Project Homeless Connect, I met many people that I would never have had the opportunity to talk to. I believe I gained more from them by looking in their eyes and giving a smile, than they received from me. - Fern Gully

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect was an eye-opener, my experience made me realize how lucky I am to have a place to stay, a job, an education and to be grateful for what I have. Being homeless makes one vulnerable to environmental hazards and related health issues, such as pneumonia. As a nurse, I am committed to help the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless in any way that I can. PHC is a basic foundation of what the nursing profession is all about because of the medical aspect of the service. Being able to put a smile on another person’s face is a great achievement. I was able to put a smile on the peoples’ face just by saying hello and good morning. I was responsible for handing out soft drinks and water to the clients; they were thrilled that they actually had a choice to pick from 4 types of sodas or water; however, I wish they had more choices to pick from. These people are not often given a choice in life, but it was an opportunity for them to make their own decision and be responsible. The city of San Francisco is one of a kind by offering such programs as PHC. A health program, like PHC, helps the homeless work out personal issues related to their homelessness. Providing a health service under a protective roof makes them feel more accepted and cared for, because most of them sleep on the streets. They are out in the cold, rain, the hot sun, and dark violent nights, where they are vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse. This free service makes homelessness more tolerable and manageable to such individuals, by knowing that they can get help and free heath service every 2 months. It is also another way for the city to prevent the transmission of disease. It is better to have free heath care to treat diseases rather than pay billions of dollars after a majority of the public has been affected. A regular clinic is another way the homeless can get service; however, they might be required to pay small amount of money, which most of them cannot afford. If I were to choose between a clinic and PHC, I would choose the clinic, only if I can afford the payments; otherwise, I would choose PHC. Most homeless people do not have any income, and so they must rely on the free program, offered every 2 months. By choosing a clinic, I am one less person in line, thus allowing others who are more vulnerable to have the opportunity to free health care. If PHC was the only health care available, people would choose PHC, because it offers all the services people desperately need, such as counseling, eye exam, medical exam, hair cut, vaccination, detox program, domestic violence help, housing and California identification cards. If individuals refuse to go to PHC, they are left with no other alternative. Being a homeless does not mean sleeping on the streets, however, it can be anything from not having a job, education and financial problem especially during this economic recession we face today. I had the opportunity to talk to some clients, who had interesting stories to tell about being homeless, how they became homeless and how they struggle to get by every day. I am really glad that I attended PHC and am hoping to attend the next one in the future if time permits. There are really good people amongst the homeless and I want to reach out to them in any way that I can.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

People may argue that Project Homeless Connect’s services only condone and reinforce homelessness since providing free services and food may not motivate people to lead a different lifestyle. I believe, however, that it helps to reduce homelessness because Project Homeless Connect’s services promote life-changing opportunities for those willing. Although I find all the services to be helpful, those such as giving California state ID’s, helping to set up voicemail and bank accounts, and providing employment interviews, in my opinion directly influence a homeless person’s chances of reintegrating into mainstream society through employment. With a California ID, the homeless are able to apply for jobs. Since most homeless people do not have phone lines, voicemail accounts give the homeless a way for employers to get into contact with them. Regardless of whether they have ever had a job or not, mock interviews increase an applicant’s chances of being hired. Bank accounts provide a safe place for their earnings once a job is found. I believe that finding a job is crucial in order for someone to leave a life of homelessness. Of course the complex issue of homelessness will not be solved by a job alone, but it will make a huge impact. Project Homeless Connect’s services for some may serve as a catalyst for change in a good direction. Because I find great value in the services just mentioned that are not health related, I find Project Homeless Connect to be more valuable than a clinic. A clinic is worthwhile because it provides health care which the homeless would otherwise have trouble receiving. A clinic would be great to have, but I find Project Homeless Connect to be more helpful because of the help it offers to bring homeless people out of marginalization; a clinic would be unable to do this. A clinic may help the homeless to live healthier, longer lives but it would still be in the confines of homelessness. Project Homeless gives the people it aids the potential to break through these limitations.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended the Homeless Connect Health Fair on February 11th 2009, at the Bill Graham Auditorium, with my nursing class at University of San Francisco. I began my volunteer work for the day by escorting homeless clients to services that they had signed up for during their initial interview at the front of the auditorium. I was working at the section that helped escort clients in wheelchairs. My third client was a woman using a Project Homeless Connect wheel chair, so I was instructed to stay with her throughout her visit and return the wheel chair to the front. I helped her first sort out which services were most important to her. I escorted her to get a new ID, then a pair of reading glasses, and encouraged her to see the podiatrist. She had trouble dealing with all the noise and people, but I was able to keep her focused on attending to these few services. I think the help that she received was critical for her health and confirms how important PHC is for many of these people. The reading glasses alone could significantly increase the quality of her life. She seemed pleased to get more then one thing done versus going to a clinic and waiting even longer, or not being served at all, if she could find the services she needed at an available city-funded clinic. I think this model of having escorts to help them find those services they wanted is crucial. I was then asked to work in a medical section, helping Spanish-speaking people fill out short demographic forms. Most had been fully assessed and diagnosed from physicians in another section, and now they needed appointments to see clinics in the city and receive treatment. Some needed to sign up for San Francisco Health Plan/Healthy San Francisco to get insurance coverage for the services they needed and then sign up for the clinics. Many non-English speaking homeless clients just couldn’t manage this process on their own, and therefore the large venue with lots of volunteers were very important for them to complete the process. I don’t think this type of large event can replace smaller clinic care and the treatment they would get, but it did serve an important role in getting many basic needs met for people who are struggling to maintain their health with limited resources. If this type of large-scale health fair were available to all citizens of San Francisco, it could provide many basic health services that people without good insurance, or limited mobility and resources, would benefit from. Most of the clients, whom I spoke with, liked the busy atmosphere and felt supported by receiving services they just wouldn’t get on their own. Smaller clinics can provide higher quality, more extensive care, but I believe the Project Homeless Connect is very important first step for people who are not receiving health care, by addressing the bigger issues for the city about providing healthcare for all it’s citizens and the efficacy of doing so in larger venues, at reduced or no cost to participants.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 4

On the morning of February 11, 2009, I will not deny the apprehensiveness I felt at the prospect of having personal contact with the homeless population of San Francisco. I had never participated in any such type of events before and was not quite sure what to expect. However, at the end of our morning shift of checking clients in and escorting them to the free services offered, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the large number of services, available under one roof, impressive, but also I was struck with the thought that they were regular people. I was able to look beyond the clients’ less than meticulous physical appearance and realize their kindness and civilized manners. There are too many times when we dismiss them as lazy and possibly a little crazy to live the way they do, as if they had a choice in the matter. Being in close contact with them and having the opportunity to converse with them while filling out their paperwork, helped me appreciate this vulnerable population of our city much more than I ever have, and hence appreciate these great array of services offered to them. Although, there were plenty of basic need services, including health screenings, shelter services, and government agencies, what struck a chord the most with me were the booths that focused on holistic health services, such as acupuncture, complimentary massages, and haircuts. It projected an emphasis on self-care and highlighted the fact that although at this point they are not living the healthiest lifestyles, they also deserve to be pampered and feel good at least for a day. Despite its imperfection, I think the creation of this project is inspirational and does help a majority of them. A single clinic may be difficult to reach for homeless individuals with their limited resource and they also would not be able to reach the amount of services that they can at PHC, in one day. Nonetheless, I did think that it became a little chaotic with so many people filling up the booths to get the services near the end of the day, and it would be frustrating to go through that experience on a daily basis to get your health services as the general public. However, the concept of having everything at one place is something that does seem convenient on a superficial level. Volunteering experiences, like this one, should be something that everybody should go through, because it makes you appreciate the things that you take for granted and most of the time, do not even take advantage of.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Being a volunteer for Project Homeless Connect is an invaluable experience that illustrates a unique facet of a city, like San Francisco. Having only little familiarity with the city, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the need for housing, lack of the necessary daily needs for people, and the willingness of volunteers to try to provide service to the underserved. While volunteers were being seated in the auditorium to hear an overview of the project’s objectives, there was already a line of clients, waiting outside to receive what they need. My job as an escort entailed communicating with the client and directing him or her to their specific destination(s). The clients, whom I helped, were in need of housing information, a haircut, grocery items, and reading glasses. One area that was heavily occupied by clients was the housing information service section. Although there was an organized manner for supplying information, it outweighed the need for housing and obtaining information on how to receive it. Noticing the numerous individuals requiring housing led me to ponder certain questions that take into consideration the apparent problem of people living on the streets: Is there a way to provide housing for those who need it? Will holding Project Homeless Connect a few times a year be enough to help put homeless individuals into homes? How do we, as a society, ward off from the struggle of poverty and scarcity? From riding the bus almost four days a week and observing people as they wait in line for food, sleeping on the wet concrete, patiently holding their cups for some spare change or shivering from the cold winter air due to lack of warm clothing, I am slightly aware of the predicament that surrounds many individuals that live in San Francisco. Being a participant at Project Homeless Connect made me think even more of the financial hardships facing many individuals. With many employers cutting hours and employees, will that result to an increase to the homeless population? If the answer is yes, then how will an establishment, providing aid to help people grant housing flourish if not enough funding is present? It’s remarkable to see the teamwork and effort towards serving the community. In the midst of the adversity within the San Francisco community, in dealing with an ongoing struggle to help people who live on the streets, there is still hope that emerges through the people and organizations that put into action their compassion and empathy towards the less fortunate. As I walked out of the auditorium to catch the Fulton 5, my friends and I came across a man who jokingly questioned why we were leaving early when Project Homeless Connect is an all day event. Reflecting on what that man said. I make a correction in my mind from his statement. It is not just an all day or one-day event to help people, but instead a continuous effort that takes time and commitment to consider possible solutions and take action towards a communal issue.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteering at Project Homeless Connect was such an eye-opening experience for me. I truly believe this organization is improving the homeless situation in San Francisco by providing a multitude of different services under one roof at no charge to the homeless community. These services range from fulfilling basic needs and requirements, such as food, grooming, SSI and DMV id's, to medical services such as dental, vision and chiropracty. These things, of which many of us take for granted, are obstacles for homeless individuals to overcome, but PHC provides a platform by making these services accessible to those who would not otherwise be able to receive it. The time I spent volunteering there made me feel great in terms of giving back to the community. There is a great sense of camaraderie at Project Homeless Connect that you simply cannot miss. This experience redefined what "homelessness" resembles to me. It made me realize that these were people who simply "fell through the cracks," just as any other person could, and need a helping hand to get them back on track. Especially in times like these, I can see why people may be living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and be on the verge of living on the streets. It's a tough situation to visualize, but volunteering and helping out someone who truly needs it is as beneficial as the people receiving the services, who are all very grateful for the help. I have even learned that there are some formerly homeless individuals who have benefitted from this organization so much that they come back and help as a volunteer, reinforcing the positive outcomes of PHC. There are pros and cons in terms of having PHC every two months in comparison to a clinic with regular hours. Not all of the clients receive the services they request, and they must also wait every two months to get access to PHC services. On the other hand, a clinic would perhaps treat more long-term problems instead of short-term difficulties if individuals could attend regularly, because homelessness is a chronic problem. With such clinical service, a regular clinic would allow for a follow-up or evaluation for individuals to track their progress, and they might have a good chance of getting their lives back together. However, PHC may run into problems of flexibility on part of the numerous volunteers and specialists that make PHC feasible, along with problems with funding from the budget cuts. In that case, having the event every other month would make sense for the time being. If this kind of health care was available using this model for all individuals, I think people would choose this because it is a matter of convenience to have everything available in one stop, as Project Homeless Connect does. Regardless, I am happy to see PHC going strong and serving as a charitable model to other cities and states across the nation and look forward to volunteering again the future.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect was an eye opening experience for me. I saw a variety of people of all ages come and receive help. As a volunteer escort, I helped people go to the locations they wanted to visit. Even though it was a short interaction with each person, I learned a lot about people’s lives and experiences. There were some people I met that had attended a PHC event before and already knew how to get around. They said that they found these services really helpful. While on the way to BART, a man saw us in our volunteer shirts and was very excited to see that Project Homeless Connect was being held on that day. Project Homeless Connect is a great organization that has made it easier for people in need to get everything done in one place. It allows them to save bus money and time, for they do not need to go to each place individually. PHC provides a variety of services, including medical care, shelter information, state identification cards, and even acupuncture. I feel Project Homeless Connect is a great asset to our community and should be done more often.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The services provided by Project Homeless Connect fit in well with the city of San Francisco’s other services, including public health clinics, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. Each bimonthly meeting brings aspects of health and general wellbeing to a portion of the population that typically receives only the tools of basic survival when offered assistance from both publicly and privately funded sites. Homelessness is a broad category that encompasses not only individuals living on the streets, but also families who have lost homes, and formerly employed individuals battling financial crises. The various forms of assistance offered free of charge by Project Homeless Connect allow members from any facet of the homeless population to improve their quality of life in a number of ways. The day-to-day and life-long struggles of homelessness cannot always be alleviated, but in sharing with the homeless population a belief in their humanity and an opportunity for assistance, advice, and care is an important step in the City of San Francisco’s battle to protect the rights and lives of its homeless. It is hard for some to comprehend the notion of homelessness, and even more difficult to brainstorm possible solutions to homelessness. The beauty of Project Homeless Connect is that it seeks not only to aid the homeless in finding a permanent residence of shelter, but also recognizes the humanity in every homeless individual by offering services like acupuncture, massages, internet access, and more. Homelessness is a complex circumstance that is often coupled with other issues such as chronic illness, mental illness, drug abuse, and financial turmoil; it does not simply mean without housing. In this vein, aid offered to the homeless must be directed at the many issues that are faced by homeless individuals. However, beneath the complexity of homelessness is the basic fact of humanity and human dignity. Everyone waiting in line at Project Homeless Connect deserves the same respect and self-respect that volunteers or care providers are entitled to. For me, the interaction between those in need and those volunteering, who had so much to give, was both beautiful and eye opening.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

After my day of volunteering at Project Homeless Connect I had a very good feeling about the program and what it offered to the homeless population. I was amazed at the range of clients that this program attracted. Especially now with the recession I saw people that I wouldn’t expect to be homeless, although homeless may mean something different from person to person. In my opinion offering under-one-roof services helps to ameliorate homelessness because some of these services are provided to get homeless people on the right track, such as providing clients with the resources to get a job, or get ready for a job interview. Other services such as banking information and ID card services are also ideal for providing a client with the great resources for getting finances in order and attaining the necessary identification needed to get a job. I understand the argument that under-one-roof services may reinforce homelessness but then I think the homeless clients that show up to Project Homeless Connect are there because they want to better their lives. For most that includes having a place to live and the necessary means to survive, and I think that Project Homeless Connect is a ‘stepping stone’ to that ultimate goal. I was amazed at the number of services provided at Project Homeless Connect that is why I think it would be more ideal than a clinic open for regular hours. This may seem extreme, but I don’t think that a clinic with regular hours would be able to provide the number of resources and services that Project Homeless Connect provides to clients in one day. If a clinic provided these services daily they would need a great amount of funding as well as staff, which would be extremely difficult to provide. That’s why providing all these services is possible twice a month, and I believe it is extremely effective as well. This program creates the opportunity to provide necessary services to a mass number of clients and knowing that these services will be available twice a month clients can plan for the needs in advance. Although it would be most ideal to have daily clinics taking care of emergency needs and Project Homeless Connect taking care of needs that aren’t as accessible, if I had to choose it would be Project Homeless Connect. I see this health care model as ideal for homeless clients because it provides free services that this population may not otherwise be able to afford or receive because they don’t have health insurance. I don’t think all individuals would find this program favorable, such as those who can afford these services and have health insurance, because it is only twice a month, busy, and they may wish to spend more time with health care providers than offered. Overall, one can see that I am extremely supportive of Project Homeless Connect and that I believe it does a great deal in helping the homeless population.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Homeless Connect's services does reinforce and ameliorate homelessness. Services like housing really helped since many of the clients reported poor quality of sleep, or not getting any at all in the streets. Moreover, when the homeless receive housing, it puts them in a much safer environment than sleeping at a park or alley. In addition, the lunch service was also helpful temporarily since a majority of attendees won’t have to loiter around restaurants or fast food joints in order to get a meal. The lunch service provided convenient access for food as attendees got to get other services done at the same time. Most of all, I believe that having Project Homeless Connect offered a big favor for the homeless. I received positive comments from clients, reporting that they were very thankful for the services that Project Homeless Connect provided. It also wasn’t just the services that made the clients appreciative, but the opportunity to talk and be with them gave them a sense of self-worth and respect. However, there are some areas that can be improved at Project Homeless Connect, such as clothing services. Several of my clients requested for clothing services, but apparently there wasn’t any. If a clothing station is added, it will improve services for those seeking additional wear to replace worn out clothes, and comfort them in chilly conditions. In respect to Project Homeless Connect completely ameliorating homelessness, I don’t believe it will be accomplished unless there are services or programs that will help the homeless gain full independence. If it is possible, I feel that Project Homeless Connect should take an approach to help clients develop independency so that they’ll be able to get careers and be less dependent on free services. I understand that a career service center was stationed at Project Homeless Connect, but I feel that some clients don’t have the initiative since they don’t have the will to want it. If Project Homeless Connect can create programs that will help encourage and motivate the homeless to be independent, as well as offering more career opportunities, then they will be able to support themselves and hopefully be inspirational influences to others. As cliché as it may sound, the old saying holds “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was one of the many volunteers to turn out for the morning shift for Project Homeless Connect on February 11th. I volunteered as an escort. Through this experience I can honestly say that I believe Project Homeless Connect not only helps homeless people but also helps the community as a whole. Those who believe that homelessness is a community problem and not just their problem, realize the impact that a function like PHC has on these homeless individual’s lives. Some may argue that these programs serve to reinforce homelessness, claiming that giving away free food, clothes, medical, etc… is merely keeping the homeless in our cities. However if we can step back and look at the homeless as people, people just like you and me, people with stories and life experience, people with hearts and minds, than we will realize that Project Homeless Connect is really all about people helping people. What is the point of hording resources? Project Homeless Connect breaks the barrier between the haves and the have nots every two months when they provide for the homeless people of San Francisco, giving them everything from Acupuncture, massage, haircuts, lunch/ groceries, to drug abuse help, needle exchange, medical attention, HIV tests, and California State IDs. The community benefits from this as well as those in need. Making a life better for one person may make life better for many others. As I said before homelessness is a community issue not just that homeless person’s problem. The sooner we come together and realize this (at an event such as PHC) we can begin to better our community as a whole. I want to add that I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I finally felt like I was volunteering at an event that truly made a huge difference in numerous lives. I look forward to future escorting!!!

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before arriving at Project Homeless Connect on February 11, 2009, I was nervous and hesitant yet excited to volunteer with PHC. I did not know exactly how everything was going to take place, but I was excited to interact and help with the homeless men and women of San Francisco. Upon arrival, I saw many people standing outside. I did not know how to act, since I did not want to appear as some rich, up tight girl. Therefore, I just smiled at everyone I saw. Once inside the auditorium, I got to see the way PHC was set up, which exceeded my expectations. When I first heard about PHC, I thought that these people are really into helping the homeless, which is completely true. I thought that there would only be a couple of main stations in the auditorium, but instead the numerous stations blew me away: dental, massage, phone calls, DMV, vision, and many more. PHC is meant to help the people in every way possible. As a volunteer, I was assigned as an escort for the men or women to his or her first station after checking in and filling out forms. It was truly wonderful to be able to talk to a man or woman, just for a short time, but still be able to put a smile on his or her face. Once you do that, you realize that these people are just like you. They have all the same feelings that you do. A smile can turn a person’s whole day around. This experience opened my eyes to see how the homeless people live. It is an experience that you cannot just tell someone about, and expect that person to fully understand; it is a hands on experience. As nursing students, we are here to help people through whatever they are going through. A nurse should never judge their client by how they look. The homeless people that I talked to were all very nice. Homeless is a big issue today, and I believe that PHC is a wonderful event to have for homeless people who cannot afford these types of services.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While it can be perceived by some that services like Project Homeless Connect merely reinforce homelessness, these organizations address the needs of a community. Resolving homelessness is an enormous and very personalized task; no story is alike. Therefore, assessing needs requires personal attention and varied resources. Typically, homelessness is a byproduct of a deeper issue, such as unaddressed mental health problems or self-destructive coping mechanisms. It can also be attributed to a series of unforeseen events, especially in hard economic times such as now. While Project Homeless Connect cannot cure all of a client’s problems, it certainly does a good job of providing basic care that most other individuals have access to. It also does a fantastic job of educating the homeless clients, who seek to change their lives. Project Homeless Connect offers information on employment, housing, HIV diagnosis, and rehabilitation programs. This program does not try to cure homelessness, but instead offers basic services to a voiceless community. Nevertheless, a cure might be possible, and with organizations, like Project Homeless Connect, we are making the first step towards that possibility. By offering services to the homeless community, Project Homeless Connect brings much anticipated resources to these individuals, but consistency is needed. Through the implementation of community-based clinics, clients would have the benefits of regular resources when they need them most. Support groups, such as AA (Alcohol Anonymous) and NA (Narcotic Anonymous), would be able to mentor recovering clients struggling to stay clean and sober. Having regular clinic hours would also alleviate client anxiety of standing in long lines, worrying about not getting a chance to be seen by a healthcare provider. This consistency would also allow case managers and social workers to follow up with clients’ progress in their transitions. Client health would also benefit from regular check-ups and services. The overall benefits of having regular clinics that serve the homeless community, including individuals living at the poverty line, would be substantial. Consistency in giving quality care and resources to the homeless community would be the next big step in curing homelessness.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect is a great contributor to our community. During this time of the economic crisis, more people are finding themselves without jobs and homes. The services that this organization provides will help decrease homelessness by helping those who are in need get back on their feet. With the many free services that PHC provides I am not surprised that there were plenty of first time participants as well as regular participants. This shows that these services are being utilized greatly by the San Francisco community. The services that I observed to be most helpful are medical assistance, housing, and food offerings. As an escort I was able to meet many people who were grateful for the assistance that the organization offers. Although the organization cannot provide its services more than every two months because of the budget, it definitely has a significant effect. Being a first time volunteer, I would love to see Project Homeless Connect become a clinic with regular hours someday. I believe that if there were more sources for funding by the community, it would be possible to help the community on a daily basis. With daily communication, the clinic can help as a stepping-stone for optimum health and success, by regularly helping people reach their goals. Furthermore, with the high volume of participants, it would be more efficient to have a clinic so that their stay is never rushed and materials do not run out. If the services could be provided upon request, I have faith that there will be less people on the streets. Overall, Project Homeless Connect changed my view on volunteering my time and care. I can only begin to imagine how it changes the clients’ lives.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Homeless Connect was an astounding experience for me. I am from Los Angeles and in all of my year of public service, I have never participated in something so remarkable. With its array of convenient services, Project Homeless Connect, most definitely improves the homeless situation in San Francisco. In fact, I don’t think there could be any form of public service that could reinforce homelessness, because people do not choose to be homeless; being homeless is influenced by what they don’t have in life, not what they are offered. If anything, Project Homeless Connect alleviates homelessness. Project Homeless Connect provides housing services to their clients, decreasing the number of homeless individual sleeping on the streets. The organization also offers employment opportunities and social groups activities. Such services will help homeless people to slowly integrate back into society. Project Homeless Connect is an immensely beneficial service. If I had to choose between establishing a community clinic or supporting Project Homeless Connect, I would choose Project Homeless Connect. Many people, not just the homeless, do not have access to eye care and rely on Project Homeless Connect for prescription glasses. Many people only see the dentists at Project Homeless Connect. Many people never experience therapeutics services such as acupuncture or even massages if it was not offered free of charge at Project Homeless Connect. Therefore, I would choose to fund Project Homeless Connect, a service that will not turn anyone away, unlike some clinics. Also, I am extremely proud that I was able to be part of Project Homeless Connect, for it makes such a big impact in people’s lives, and I am ecstatic that I got to be a part of making such an impact.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Offering free under-one-roof services reinforces to homeless people that there are people out in the world that care and want to help. When at Project Homeless Connect, I felt that many people were embarrassed for being homeless. Many people also felt that everyone hated them just because they were “different” with their conditions, such as speech and physical disabilities. Being a volunteer, I felt that I was there to help and encourage them to get help. They were able to choose the items that best fit their needs and I would walk them through the steps. I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the diversity of people. Each person had their own story and determination to better their life. Project Homeless Connect is an extraordinary program to help with the homeless problem. The volunteers of the community share the same motivation. We came together to “support and create lasting solutions for homeless San Franciscans.” I look forward to volunteering again next year. Addison

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The idea of under-one-roof comprehensive services does not reinforce homelessness, but rather helps with the homeless. The idea that providing these services reinforces homelessness assumes that everyone homeless prefers being that way and are responsible for how they got there. Some people are homeless because they have been forced into it by various means, such as financial hardship due to the economy or a recent loss of a job. Programs like Project Homeless Connect provide opportunities for people that are trying to recover from hardship through medical services and access to programs that can enable them to get back on their feet. For example, at Project Homeless Connect, people are able to seek medical attention, get information on welfare, seek help with drug addiction, find a home, get free DMV services, and receive a free lunch all in one area. To cut these services off because people assume everyone who is homeless is responsible for their status would be an injustice. If I had to choose between a clinic with regular hours or Project Homeless Connect every two months, I would choose Project Homeless Connect. While a clinic can provide medical services everyday for those that are homeless, the only services the clinic provides are medical services. On the other hand, Project Homeless Connect provides a multitude of services, including social services, medical services, and food services. Although it is two months, I feel that Project Homeless Connect provides a wide array of services that are able, if used to the fullest extent, can greatly help one that is homeless on their way to getting out of poverty. The clinic would only provide for medical services, and although we would probably see an increase in health among those in poverty, those in poverty would still be in poverty. I would rather like to see someone be given the opportunity to rise out of poverty and be able to afford their own health care as a result of coming out of poverty. If this health care model was available to everyone, I am confident that people would choose this model. Although health care is a big concern and a clinic would help to alleviate the health care problems, I think that it is more effective to curb poverty and homelessness. By helping the problem of poverty, we help the underlying problems of health care. Many people do not seek health care because they are unable to afford it. If we bring people out of poverty, then they will be able to afford it and seek treatment.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really enjoyed volunteering at project homeless connect. Project homeless connect is a useful avenue for homeless people with a varity of needs. I thought that what is offered goes above and beyond. The people there who run it are really organized and welcoming which makes it easier for a volunteer to feel apart of the project. My job was to pull the individuals out of line who had familys or who were pregnant. When they realized that they could get thier kids out of the rain they were so greatful which made me feel like I was making a difference. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Image a dark cold place where there is no warmth of sunlight and shadows reinforce your greatest fears. As a person you understand what hope feels like, you know what joy looks like but you are unable to achieve or reach these emotions because of the constant darkness you face. Then, you start to see small glimmers of light and feel the warmth of the sun. You begin to feel the blood run through your veins and at that moment you feel alive. Project Homeless Connects comprehensive approach to services is definitely the sunlight for homeless individual. It provides one-stop resources that give any individual the freedom to choose and reinforces the notion that thoughtful decisions matter in your personal well being. As a volunteer at Project Homeless Connect I saw how people are empowered when they make a choice to visit the Department Motor Vehicles, receive a HIV test or discuss possible options for shelter. Project Homeless Connect can give someone the tools to manage their life. On the other hand, homelessness itself is not a choice but a fact of reality. Supporting or offering resources to assist the homeless population does not emphasize the situation but can improve the outlook on life for people. To reinforce homelessness would be not offer services such as Project Homeless Connect and turn a blind eye to the reality that homeless people face. Individuals need to be cared for and shown that people truly do care no matter where a person falls in the ladders of society. Giving a glimmer of light and warmth is unquestionably far more effective then allowing people to remain in the dark.

Previous Stories
14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Providing specialized services for homeless families with children was beneficial to clients. Parents feel a responsibility to their children and by providing additional or separate resources can truly give a parent the confidence and independent automony to improve the family's living enviornment. On site day care services was important for the children as well. You saw the light come back into their eyes when the children interacted with the volunteers. Children need to be able to step away from their day to day lives and enter a safe area of play.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Due to budget problems and economic struggles, San Francisco has decreased services for the homeless. However, the homeless are not at too big of a loss as they might think. Thinking about the average American family, parents want to be able to provide their entire family with health insurance as a safety precaution. However, a typical healthy family only needs to visit their family physician once a year for an annual check up, which don’t add up to the amount being paid just to keep that insurance. These days, health prevention and promotion services, and even health professionals are accessible online. Local communities and schools are also addressing health issues under budgets, and they’ve been doing fine for years. These sources do not require additional health care coverage. With that said, health care clinics (not emergency rooms or hospitals) could save the economy some money by having more restricted hours. After all, flexible hours are a luxury and more for convenience; it isn’t a large factor in delivering quality health care nor does it directly impact each patient outcome. For those without health insurance such as myself, my last visit to a nurse practitioner was a week ago. However, prior to that, my last visit to a health professional without having health coverage was approximately five months ago. Therefore, homeless people are actually very fortunate to receive health services every two months.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 4

After volunteering at Project Homeless Connect for the very first time, the great experience I encountered will be instilled within me throughout my life. This momentous occasion, positively affects the lives for all people including the homeless and everyone who offered their time and services to them. Volunteering as an escort, however, I observed many positive and negative aspects about the event throughout the day. I discovered that the event was very well organized and that the people in charge were highly experienced in managing the whole process. Despite its organization, there was little to be done about the time wasted for people who had to wait for services they needed. I remember I had to escort JP to get his DMV I.D. but he saw that the line was so long, that he did not even bother to obtain it. Especially in the vision center, people had to wait by appointment that were two or three hours later in the day. This event should offer two stations for the most visited and needed services by the homeless, which could make the waiting time much faster. Before ever knowing what Project Homeless Connect was, I thought that our class would just be serving food to the homeless. Upon arrival, I saw that it was much more than that. I think that offering free under one-roof comprehensive services improves homelessness because it is one step closer for the homeless to make their life a little easier and improve their way of living much better. The various services they offer is more efficient and manageable being together in the same area, rather than having to go from place to place seeking their different needs. Since San Francisco has decreased their services I believe that Project Homeless Connect is the way to go. Obviously with regular clinic hours, individuals can get help daily, but for the people who operate the clinic regularly, it does not benefit the city. Which is why I stress the importance of Project Homeless Connect every two months. This is the place to get everything done all in one day. Offering different services right near each other in one building saves time and money. This way everyone can benefit from this situation including the homeless, service providers, volunteers, and the city. If healthcare was available for all individuals using this model, I believe that people would be hesitant to accept it. I believe that with more and more experience that Project Home Connect has, the better it is going to be operated. So with healthcare I believe that at first they would not choose this path. but after seeing and experiencing so many services all in one area, I believe that people would choose this. I also believe a lot of people would not choose this direction for healthcare because of how compacted and overcrowded it can possibly be. Unless the operation was done in an enormous complex, then it would be well conducted.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working for a few hours at Project Homeless Connect was so satisfying that I wonder why more people, including myself, don’t volunteer more. It was so much fun meeting the people I would otherwise never have met. The highlight was getting to know the other volunteers, such as the man I sat next to who happens to be a research scientist in the cardiology department at a local hospital. Some of the clients seeking services were likewise interesting. For example, I met a young couple who had just moved to San Francisco and are just getting acquainted with the city. Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is an ambitious program that tries to cater to as much of the needs of the homeless and other disenfranchised members of the city. It is a great model for nonprofit organizations in other cities. The problem of homelessness is a complicated one that has no one particular remedy but a well organized, staffed and comprehensive entity like PHC goes a long way to chip away at some of the problems that the homeless may have, one day at a time. It was obvious that the services provided, such as free medical services, vision and hearing tests and aids, obtaining identification cards, housing, phone and banking services, were highly sought after and much appreciated. Although these services are provided in the city at clinics and offices open during regular business hours, this project drew in many people that would otherwise not (and obviously don’t) go to these other service providers. Perhaps it was because the services were provided under-one roof, making it easy to access. Nevertheless, it appears that both forms of services, PHC and clinics/offices, are needed and in greater supply as problems that were being presented to the medical staff were for the most part chronic ones be it requests for mental help or substance abuse issues, hypertension and diabetes that require close follow up. Project Homeless Connect is in some ways a model for the implementation of a form of universal healthcare coverage system. It is an efficient program that addresses the many needs of the community through volunteer work. It can work as an adjunct/gate keeper/triage for medical offices, hospitals, and other service providers in the private sector (medical, banking, alternative healthcare) and those provided by the government (hosing, DMV, social security, medical etc..). Here is an idea, maybe this can be the impetus for getting a business license in the city—you must volunteer your services to the community once or twice a year. It’s a win-win situation, where the community is served and you serve the community without increasing your taxes or costing the city much money. If healthcare were provided through this form of system, I think many people would take advantage of it. It could possibly lead people to address medical problems they would otherwise ignore for lack of insurance. If this seems too ambitious, PHC can also lead to the genesis of smaller projects, such as hearing and vision clinics, that cater to the community on a long term basis, run by volunteers; these were services that were the most sought after and depleted the fastest at PHC. I suppose this is just wishful thinking on my part, spurred on by our newly elected President who recently asked Congress to put a down payment for a future universal healthcare system. Seeing how well it was attended by volunteers and clients, Project Homeless Connect should and will continue its commendable work. Other cities should follow suite.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having the opportunity to volunteer and serve to PHC is an uplifting and memorable experience. At first, I wasn't sure of what to do, how to act and how to provide service. When I get to escort a client and his husband, I realized it wasn't hard after all. We went to different services and seeing their enthusiasm made me feel honored. They were like a child in a big arcade. They took advantage of every single service they can avail for the day. I just wished PHC can stay for 1 week. It is really nice to have this kind of health care service for them. I am also impressed by all the other volunteers (nurses, doctors, hair dressers, etc). They were all professional and genuinely sincere of the service they were providing. It is such a wonderful experience. The last thing I will never forget was when we have to go back to class and my client said thank you and shook my hand whispering "God bless you". It was really a pleasure and I won't hesitate to serve again.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After volunteering for the morning shift of Project Homeless Connect on February 11, 2009 I was taken back by both the turnout of those in need, as well as the wide range of services offered. At the end of my shift I had mixed feelings about the event. There were many things I liked. I thought it was well organized and had a lot of crucial services that would be hard to obtain for the homeless population otherwise. Additionally, it was obvious that this was not only appreciated by the local community, but supported by as well through volunteer hours and donations. I think if we had to choose, it would be better to have Project Homeless Connect every two months, than to have a clinic with regular hours. I think this because with so many services available in one spot, there is a better chance that this will get the homeless all the services they need, versus just one service attended to at the clinic. Lastly, I believe that this event helps to alleviate homelessness, rather than reinforce it. I think many of the clients saw this as a chance to get parts of their lives together and get moving on the right track. However, there are also some things I thought could be improved upon. While I was working the check-in area I noticed that the two most demanded services were dental and vision work. But, these two services were the first ones that were overbooked and became unavailable. I think time and money could be better spent expanding those two services. Additionally, I don’t think that this type of healthcare would work for the whole community. First, I don’t think there would b enough consistent volunteers or donations to support the event for everyone who lived in the city. Secondly, I think that there would be a big demand for specialists that could not be supplied. I believe that this is a crucial event for the homeless population of San Francisco and that as it continues things will progressively improve and become more efficient.