Over the past couple of years, homelessness has exploded across the Bay Area – as a direct result of rising rent, stagnating wages, and a lack of affordable housing.
We are all familiar with the ‘face’ of homelessness – a man or woman pushing a shopping cart of their possessions down the side of the street, asking for help from passersby. But what we don’t always recognize is that many of us are just two hard months or one paycheck away from being homeless ourselves.
At Dorothy Day House, we prioritize getting to know the stories of the people that we all so often see.
We make it a point to mainly hire individuals who have experienced a similar hardship in their lives. Many of the people we help end up volunteering or working for us and becoming a part of our family.
At Dorothy Day House, we pride ourselves in living our lives and doing our work in the “Dorothy Day Way.” That means that we strive to show both radical love and warmth to people that come to us for help, whether they are homeless or not. We then focus on finding solutions to improve their circumstances immediately.
As Dorothy Day herself once said, “We must take one step at a time, lay one brick at a time.”
We know our work is only beginning. At this time of year, we often find ourselves reflecting on the value of community and family. In many instances, people struggling or have found themselves facing homelessness do not have anyone in their family to turn to. Dorothy Day House employees and volunteers are that family to so many who are in need. We prioritize making sure that our current guests feel like they have a ‘home’ within our shelters, allowing them to move onward with their lives. This approach is most apparent at our new Horizon Transitional Village location. We have been able to get nine people back into the workforce, and ten people back into housing since our program began on July 1st. As they say, happy people are productive people.
While the success we have had so far is encouraging, each victory along the way also belongs to our community of volunteers, community partners, and donors. Everyone who has helped has ensured that Dorothy Day House can provide safe spaces for individuals before they get back onto their feet.
Thank you for being a part of it all.
Today, Dorothy Day House is participating in Giving Tuesday. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to ensure ongoing access to our safe spaces and resources for the unhoused in Berkeley. If you can, please consider making a contribution here.
Happy holidays from myself and the entire Dorothy Day House family,