It has been a difficult year for everyone. The pandemic has contributed to seismic changes in how we work, socialize, travel, and go about our lives. At Dorothy Day House in particular, we have had to radically adjust our day to day functions to keep both our staff and the people we serve, safe while still maintaining their dignity and our internal community.
A sense of community is something that binds people together. This sense can be from a positive common cause – i.e., helping the greater good by assisting those less fortunate, or from participating in a group that shares your passion for foosball. Our passion at Dorothy Day House is for helping other people. We seek to inspire a sense of community at Dorothy Day House amongst both our guests and our volunteers and staff. This has largely happened organically, as we have made it clear from the beginning that we consider our guests like our extended family members. In addition to that, our shelter was initially run exclusively by individuals who were homeless and received our services.
Because we believe in the dignity of every human being, hiring people who had previously been homeless was a no-brainer for us. We believe that communities that work together, win together. Throughout my career in the public service sector, there has never been a time where a non-profit could do what it does entirely on its own – they needed the help of their communities.
It is because of our donors that we can provide a community for the homeless population in Berkeley, which is more important now than ever. As we approach the winter months, we are bracing for a third wave of coronavirus infections, in addition to the regular rain and flu seasons. The homeless were largely spared from the first two waves of the pandemic because they were swept up from the streets and put into thousands of motel rooms by the county. And, while these rooms will be converted into permanent housing for those in need – there are still 2,000 people without a home, living in encampments in Berkeley and the surrounding areas that need our help.
Dorothy Day House has been working around the clock to make sure that we are meeting this moment – by taking to the streets to hand-deliver immediate needs such as hygiene kits, warm socks, and PPE to people living in encampments. We have also recently become certified to perform housing assessments through Alameda County Coordinated Re-entry.
We can change the lives of the unhoused in Berkeley. But we cannot do it without you.
Dorothy Day House is participating in Giving Tuesday this year on December 1st. If you would like to participate, please mark your calendar – and make your plan to visit our website at dorothydayhouseberkeley.org to donate, if that is something you can do.
Or please consider hosting a fundraiser on your personal Facebook page, and inviting your personal network to give on December 1st. No matter what you do, you will be helping us make sure one less person is left out in the cold.
Thank you for your time,
Dorothy Day House