Sunday September 9 2018

Good morning, UCO supporters.

Happy birthday to our Executive Chef Melody Garrett! She celebrated her birthday with our staff and volunteers at our drop-in center yesterday.

We were happy to have the help of many regular volunteers, as well as a group of about 20 from the South Coast Interfaith Council.

Our UCO staff and total of 41 volunteers prepared and served meals to 184 guests, of which 23 were new to the drop-in center. Guests were served enchilada pies, soup, vegetables and desserts and offered fruit, packaged salads and bread to take out. The computer center was very busy with guests checking their emails and conducting other business on the internet.

Clients were given groceries, bus fare, their mail, rent assistance and follow-up for permanent housing assistance. We also helped several guests who needed government ID cards.

Several of those who seeked help yesterday are facing significant health challenges from cancer to mental health diagnosis, which are made more challenging by their lack of stable housing. Some are living on the streets, while others are in regulated shelters. Our counselors and I were very busy trying to determine options to help them improve their situations and will work on follow-ups during the week.

Some of our most challenging cases involve young children – one of our families includes a mom, her adult daughter, a teenage daughter and 4 young children, including a toddler and pre-schooler. They have been homeless for several years. Both the 20-year-old and 17-year-old daughters have desire to resume their education, but have that as a fading goal. They have all worked various minimum-wage jobs and know that they want to give their children better lives, but can’t right now. It was heart-breaking to hear the young child asks his grandma if she knew where they will sleep tonight and the grandma replied she didn’t know yet. We will follow-up with this family to help them gain assistance from the County for permanent housing.

The more people I talk to who are experiencing homelessness the more I learn about the complexities of living in poverty. At the same time, I continue to be amazed by people’s resilience and am inspired by their hope and determination.

We thank you all for your continued support. With your help, the UCO staff and I are helping our clients improve their lives, with a goal of moving them out of homelessness.

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