gmhTODAY 20 gmhToday June July 2018 - Page 20

Janessa Villareal , Case Manager Gilroy Compassion Center

Special thanks to Jan Bernstein Chargin and Cecelia Ponzini who provided connections with people in our community who like them , are finding ways to help the homeless . There are other important voices , and new programs coming , which will be covered in our next issue .
Gilroy Compassion Center
370 Tomkins Court • Gilroy gilroycompassioncenter . blogspot . com 408-763-7120
Janessa Villareal is a case manager at the Gilroy Compassion Center . She is on the front lines in the fight to end homelessness .
“ There ’ s a huge debate about how to deal with homelessness but not everyone ’ s talking about the same thing ,” Villareal said . “ Society tends to have a onedimensional view .
“ Working with the homeless , we may be dealing with a drug addict sleeping under a bridge , a single mother who lost a job and is temporarily down on her luck , a college student living out of his car because he can ’ t afford rent , or a teenager who ran away from an abusive home .
According to Villareal , “ Some of our clients have trauma or mental health issues . Without basic coping skills and a support system , it ’ s hard for them to maintain healthy relationships . If they can ’ t express themselves , they tend to burn bridges , develop resentments and become isolated . They usually have a hard time trusting , sharing their story or asking for help .
“ When we work with people to transition them into a stable living situation , mental health needs to be part of the process . Along with job coaching , we need to teach life skills , so when things do go wrong they won ’ t quit and run because now they have tools to cope .”
Villareal said the Gilroy Compassion Center ( GCC ) offers daytime services for the homeless . “ They know this is a safe place to come for breakfast , hygiene items and clothing , but not a hangout where they can loiter .”
Twice a year , GCC transports clients to Project Connect , an event that offers them an accelerated intake process with service providers such as Community Solutions , First Five , and the Bill Wilson Center .
“ The majority of the homeless don ’ t have cars . It ’ s a way for them to get help with housing , health , and employment needs in one place , without having to travel north . They can meet people , fill out forms , and even get a free haircut .”
A few years ago , GCC ’ s Program Director Daleen Pearce started a transitional program called Almost Home , offering safe and legal campsites , food , transportation and case management services . Under the leadership of GCC Board Chair Jan Bernstein Chargin , GCC is also working with partners on plans for two “ Compassion Parks ,” communities of tiny homes with a central facility for basic services .
As for the FOCUS Safe Parking program , Rebecca Garcia from the City of Morgan Hill got the ball rolling by reaching out to Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing . He asked GCC and the Morgan Hill Unified School District to be part of the solution . The local interfaith community is playing an intregal role in the effort . Morgan Hill PD won a grant to fund a case manager . GCC donated a shipping container that was converted by San Jose State students into a shower and laundry facility . Interfaith volunteers donate and serve food and other items and help at the Safe Park location . Edward Boss Prado Foundation has donated tables , chairs , games and hygiene kits . The Community Garage donates simple car maintenance .
Currently , the program accepts homeless families , couples , and single women . Villareal takes a detailed history , runs background checks , and requires client participation in case management as a condition of enrollment . She meets with each client on a weekly basis . To date , the majority of her clients have been placed into stable housing and found jobs .
“ The goal of the program is to help families attain housing and selfsufficiency , so we engage them in goal-setting and document their progress ,” Villareal said .
“ Sometimes the simplest thing , like running out of gas on the way to a job interview and having someone you can call for help , can mean the difference between an inconvenient day and weeks of progress lost .”
PHOTO BY ROBIN SHEPHERD
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GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUNE / JULY 2018 gmhtoday . com
Special thanks to Jan Bernstein Chargin and Cecelia Ponzini who provided connections with people in our community who like them, are finding ways to help the homeless. There are other important voices, and new programs coming, which will be covered in our next issue. Gilroy Compassion Center 370 Tomkins Court • Gilroy gilroycompassioncenter.blogspot.com 408-763-7120 20 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUNE/JULY 2018 gmhtoday.com Janessa Villareal, Case Manager Gilroy Compassion Center Janessa Villareal is a case manager at the Gilroy Compassion Center. She is on the front lines in the fight to end homelessness. “There’s a huge debate about how to deal with homelessness but not every- one’s talking about the same thing,” Villareal said. “Society tends to have a one- dimensional view. “Working with the homeless, we may be dealing with a drug addict sleeping under a bridge, a single mother who lost a job and is temporarily down on her luck, a college student living out of his car because he can’t afford rent, or a teenager who ran away from an abusive home. According to Villareal, “Some of our clients have trauma or mental health issues. Without basic coping skills and a support system, it’s hard for them to maintain healthy relationships. If they can’t express themselves, they tend to burn bridges, develop resentments and become isolated. They usually have a hard time trusting, sharing their story or asking for help. “When we work with people to transition them into a stable living situation, mental health needs to be part of the process. Along with job coaching, we need to teach life skills, so when things do go wrong they won’t quit and run because now they have tools to cope.” Villareal said the Gilroy Compassion Center (GCC) offers daytime services for the homeless. “They know this is a safe place to come for breakfast, hygiene items and clothing, but not a hangout where they can loiter.” Twice a year, GCC transports clients to Project Connect, an event that offers them an accelerated intake process with service providers such as Community Solutions, First Five, and the Bill Wilson Center. “The majority of the homeless don’t have cars. It’s a way for them to get help with housing, health, and employment needs in one place, without having to travel north. They 6VWBVRfWBf&2BWfVvWBg&VR&7WB( ФfWrV'2vt4>( 2&w&F&V7F"FVVV&6R7F'FVBG&6F&w&6VB7BRffW&r6fRBVv66FW2fBG&7'FFB66RvVVB6W'f6W2VFW"FRVFW'6bt40&&B6"&W&7FV6&vt4226v&rvF'FW'20f"Gv( 676&2( 6VFW2bFW2vF6VG&f6ƗGf"&626W'f6W22f"FRd5U26fR&r&w&&V&V66v&6g&FR6G`&vvBFR&&Ɩr'&V6rWBF&vƖ6R6V`FfB7vrR6VBt42BFR&vVfVB66F7G&7BF&P'BbFR6WFFR6FW&fF6VG2rG&Vv&RFRVff'B&vBvw&BFgVB66RvW"t42FFVB6r6FW"FBv26fW'FVB'66R7FFR7GVFVG2F6vW BVG'f6ƗGFW&fFfVFVW'2FFRB6W'fRfBBFW"FV0BVBFR6fR&6FVGv&B&72&FfVFF2FFV@F&W26'2vW2BvVRG2FR6VGv&vRFFW26P6"FV6R7W'&VFǒFR&w&66WG2VW72f֖ƖW26WW2B6vRvVf&VFW2FWFVB7F''V2&6w&VB6V62B&WV&W26ƖV@'F6F66RvVVB26FFbV&VB6RVWG2vFV66ƖVBvVVǒ&62FFFRFR&GbW"6ƖVG2fR&VV6VBF7F&RW6rBfVB'2( FRvbFR&w&2FVf֖ƖW2GFW6rB6VbЧ7Vff6V76vRVvvRFVv6WGFrBF7VVBFV"&w&W72( Хf&V6B( 6WFW2FR6W7BFrƖR'VrWBbv2FRvF FW'fWrBfr6VRR66f"V6VFRFffW&V6P&WGvVV6fVVBFBvVV2b&w&W727B(