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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 Franciscan's 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

Programs: -216 accupuncture treatments were given to clients-116 banking service consultations were provided, resulting in many clients opening bank accounts-1,033 benefits meetings took place-606 dental screenings were performed-566 employment interviews and services were given-1,733 eye exams were performed and eyeglasses distributed-456 families who are homeless came for counseling-4,191 lunches were served to homeless clients-45,475 pounds of groceries were given-436 harcuts were completed-296 hiv tests were performed-52 homeward bound trips were arranged to assist homeless people's return home-592 housing information counseling meetings were conducted with clients-690 dmv state id's were issued-456 legal meetings were held-303 massages were performed on clients-610 medical service interactions were made, connecting many clients with primary care providers-219 behavioral health, substance abuse, or methadone connections were made-1,080 phone calls were made to family and friends-205 podiatry treatments were given-296 shelter reservations or stabilized housing were achieved-105 veterans service connections were provided-226 veterinary care and pet sitting served dogs, cats and other pets-352 voicemail accounts were opened-47 chiropractic treatments were given-111 adult probation service connections were made

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

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

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!

3

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

1

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.

30

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

29

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.

23

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

1

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

23

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.

1

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.

22

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.

21

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.

18

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.

21

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

16

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

1

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.

21

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.

20

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.

22

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.

21

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.