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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

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.