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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.