Eric V. Campbell San Diego Homeless Advocate | Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of the Homeless
Eric V. Campbell San Diego Homeless Advocate says “The plight of the homeless is a tragic one if society does not extend compassion and support to attempt to ameliorate their daily hardships.”
They are often the victims of misunderstanding, unwarranted suspicion, and deliberate discrimination as they try to negotiate the uneven playing field and usually improperly heated/cooled/undernourished existence that is their unplanned lot in life, usually through no fault of their own.
A volunteer driven agency, Streets of Hope, has been formed to address the needs and potential of the homeless community. The first response of volunteers is fear and misunderstanding, but this initial hesitation is overcome as they realize that they only need to forge friendships and be themselves with their new homeless friends.
Often, initial contact can appear awkward as the various participants begin to understand each other. Initial responses include awkward dialog, or even attempts to had out Bible tracts or donate small amounts of money. Slowly, the people begin to lose their fear and really talk, to plug in to wherever needs can be met. A shining example is a program initiated by volunteers to arrange for and provide services such as monthly haircuts, volunteer chiropractic adjustments, and other simple and needed services.
“The volunteers are instructed that they don’t have to fix the problems of their new friends,” Eric told us, “but rather just to be with them to spend time with them show they care.”
The response of volunteers who engage with homeless individuals is overwhelming. They have been able to overcome their fears of the homeless and befriend them. Once they experience being able to make a difference with these homeless individuals as they interact with them to help them improve their lives.
This success with reaching out to homeless individuals is easily repeatable in additional cities. The volunteers at Streets of Hope are willing to give pointers to anyone who wishes to inquire about starting such a program in their own city. The contact is Eric firstname.lastname@example.org.. He is happy to share tips on how the Streets of Hope program has become such a force for positive change, emotional reinforcement and growth for their homeless participants as well as their volunteers.