Our 1st HEAP Post!
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
“Empathy is communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You are not alone’”. I constantly remind myself of this meaningful quote by Brene Brown as I do outreach on the streets in East County. I have been working on being intentional in meeting people where they are at and treating everyone with the human dignity that we all deserve.
These past two months of being the Outreach Coordinator for the HEAP grant has been a learning experience where sobering realities motivate me to continue to collaborate with others in order to make a difference in the lives of people who need it most in our San Diego community. The reality is that it is not an unusual day out in the field to be yelled at or to essentially be ignored for the services being offered. Yet, there are also people who are responsive and are more open to taking actions in order to get into housing.
Nevertheless what does outreach really look like? I have included a picture above of a group of people who come together every Wednesday to do outreach as a team in East County. The group of people in this picture is called the Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART), which includes trained homeless Outreach sheriffs, nurses, McAllister’s, Family Health Center, the County, and Crisis House. In fact, this picture is special as the gentlemen who took the picture, was actually the first person Crisis House was able to house through HEAP funding. We met him in Spring Valley and within in a week we got him housed in a unique trailer park in the Anza Borrego Dessert called Butterfield Ranch. The man we housed is a 60 year old man who has been experiencing homelessness on and off for the last 20 years. He initially became unsheltered after a divorce and has been unsheltered in different parts of East County. Visiting him yesterday, it is clear that he still has several obstacles to overcome in the transition to the Ranch, but with case management should be heading in the right direction.
The group effort described is just one tactic of collaboratively working together to do outreach for those who are unsheltered in East County. We look forward to not only continue to house people in East County, but also work with empathy to the struggles people face on a daily basis.