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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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

15

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

16

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

19

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Previous Stories
14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

17

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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