This article was contributed by Christina Soto, program manager at Community Homeless Solutions.
Through the San Benito GIVES campaign, Community Homeless Solutions (CHS) seeks to raise sufficient funds to purchase a new or very reliable late model 12-passenger van to assist the HOME Resource Center in meeting the transportation needs of our shelter guests. It is very clear that our homeless participants are seriously impacted by not only lacking a home but are further limited by not having their own personal vehicle. Community Homeless Solutions staff does make extra efforts to promote and facilitate the use of limited public transportation but this has not been effective in meeting the needs of our shelter guests. For the past 21 months on a 24/7 basis, CHS has been regularly providing overnight shelter. A bed at night does get homeless persons off the street, however, we recognize that they need to get connected to support services to further their recovery. Some homeless persons even manage to find a real part-time job but are restricted by not being to get to and from the workplace. As a result, our organization has been challenged to get occupants to medical appointments, make visits to our local hospital and to public service appointments. A much more effective solution is for CHS to have its own van. CHS believes that by having its own new or very reliable van would be instrumental in the daily pick up and drop off of the homeless to and from our shelter, along with getting our shelter guests to and from necessary appointments. The use of a van would greatly advance our organizational efforts in furthering the overall personal recovery of our shelter clients.
The HOME Resource Center opened up its doors on Dec. 1, 2017 and is the first year-round accompanied adult shelter in the history of San Benito County. Community Homeless Solutions runs the center 365 days a year. The shelter is located at 1161 San Felipe Road. The center has a 50 bed capacity, 28 male beds and 22 female beds, and offers showers, restrooms, three meals a day for all shelter guests, laundry and a kitchen facility. When the center opened, only 12 guests came to the center. A year and a half later, the average number of guests who stay nightly is 45, 313 unduplicated guests have spent at least one night at the center, 58 found employment, 82 found housing, 105 were linked to support services, 69,319 meals have been provided and a total of 23,414 bed nights have been provided.
Homelessness is usually a result of a number of factors, not just a single cause. The center provides a place for guests to be able to come and rest, shower and have meals. Even though not everyone’s stories are the same, their journeys are similar in nature. Without the HOME Resource Center, many of them will still be living out on the streets and may not be alive today.
Guest Edward said, “The HOME Resource Center has helped me by giving me something I thought I had lost—my self-worth. They strengthened me and gave me the will to try again. I have been able to accomplish the ability to walk again, after suffering a stroke which left me partially paralyzed on my left side, and made me believe in myself again. Friends and the caring staff who believe in me have made me a happier man and I now can look in the mirror and love who I see in the reflection.”
Another shelter guest states, “ Community Homeless Solutions and the HOME Resource Center in Hollister with its professional staff is a god send to me and provides essential services to the community. Without this shelter, I would be sleeping on the street, instead of in a welcoming and safe environment where I am treated with respect and given the encouragement and tools necessary to regain my independence and quality of life. I believe that Community Homeless Solutions rebuilds lives in a cost
effective way that is certain to create a win-win situation, both for those in need and the community at large. Thank you for from the bottom of my heart to everyone involved.”
Testimonials such as these from shelter guests are not possible without the support of the continued partnerships with other agencies in the community.
Founded in 1978, Community Homeless Solutions is Monterey County’s largest provider of homeless housing and emergency shelter beds for victims of domestic violence. With a mission of “helping people transition to a better tomorrow,” Community Homeless Solutions is dedicated to helping local residents with ending their homelessness and cycle of domestic abuse. To this end, the agency provides outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing opportunities to women, children, and men. By adding essential supportive services, we are able to facilitate individuals and families, including women and children fleeing domestic violence, with transitioning to stable living. Community Homeless Solutions is a 501(C)(3), not-for-profit, charitable organization. For more information on the HOME Resource Center, please visit our website at www.communityhomelesssolutions.org/hrc or call us at (831) 256-1852.