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January 6, 2010 > Abode Services, helping those in need

Abode Services, helping those in need

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By courtesy of Abode Services

"People are being careful where they choose to contribute," says Carol Arata, Director of Development for Abode Services. "Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) has given us a four star evaluation for five years in a row," she adds, "and only nine percent of charitable organizations have received this."

After 20 years, this non-profit organization recently changed its name from Tri-City Homeless Coalition to Abode Services. "It was important for our new name to reflect the solution we seek to provide - housing (abode)."

According to Arata, the name change is also an indication of the expansion of the geographic area now served, beyond the tri-cities, to include clients in Castro Valley, Livermore and San Leandro.

Abode provides services to 2,000 clients a year and offers 11 housing programs. Besides assisting with shelter referrals and placements, the organization helps with mental health and health screenings as well as childcare and job assistance. Clients are referred in a variety of ways. Overall, the 2-1-1 program in Alameda County connects people to organizations such as Abode, for necessary services or shelter.

There are always many families and individuals in Southern Alameda County who need help from Abode. Some are even working families who are homeless and need housing or assistance with their medical and social concerns. The majority of the agency's clientele are adult females with children.

Abode's best-known emergency shelter program is at Sunrise Village in the Warm Springs area. Sunrise Village facility was specially created to house homeless families and single adults in a respectful manner. The shelter houses 66 people for up to three months and 264 individuals each year. Residents work with case managers to receive all necessary services and to develop a plan toward transitioning to living independently.

Among the important programs currently in effect, is 'Winter Relief' which partners with various local churches to provide temporary shelter. Originally started as a waiting list for regular shelter spots, churches volunteer on a rotating basis for six months, to house homeless clients. Approximately 40 people sleep on cots each night. During the day, they must vacate the premises but are given bag lunches. "We start connecting them with our services, working to find more permanent shelter," says Arata.

Another ongoing program offered by Abode, 'Greater Hope,' assists mentally ill clients. The clients receive housing assistance, get help with their medications, learn to set goals, save money and keep on the right track.

'Project Independence' provides emergency assistance to foster youths. At age 18 they are "aged out" of the system. Abode works to provide these clients with structure and support. Case managers follow up weekly and provide encouragement to have them continue their employment or education.

A mobile clinic known as 'Hope Project' serves the homeless where they congregate, to help them with medical, mental health and social services.

New housing apartments for the homeless such as Bridgeway Apartments on Bay Street are at full occupancy with very little turnover. At more permanent housing facilities, low-income families and individuals may remain as long as they continue to meet residency qualifications.

To meet the growing needs of the homeless and low-income community, a new 64-unit supportive affordable housing development will open in 2011 on Main Street, in the Irvington district.

Abode receives donations from the public and corporations as well as federal, state, county and city funds to fund its programs. Although the current economic downturn has reduced these vital sources of funds, The Sobrato Family Foundation has stepped up to provide a 'challenge grant' over the next two years. Donations will be matched 100 percent by them. This will double donations and provides a great opportunity to make a difference to needy families.

Arata says, "We're feeling the economic pinch like everyone else. We hope people will still continue to give, as the services we provide give valuable support to our community. The need is great and we've been getting by, with fewer resources, but seeing more people needing help. We are a true safety net, providing life and death services."

Abode Services Wish List:
50 sleeping bags for Winter Relief Program
New Bed Pillows for Sunrise Village and Winter Relief Shelter
New sheets, twin and full size
40 - 50 gallon storage containers for Winter Relief
New extra large chest freezer
4 new electric can openers
4 new 4-slot toasters
Industrial size cans of stew, ravioli or soup
Industrial size cans of vegetables
Industrial size cans of spaghetti sauce
Industrial size cans of fruit
Large cans of coffee
2 new 35+cup coffee urn
Gift certificates to local grocery stores
BART tickets and bus tickets
Gift certificates for haircuts
Electric clocks (no radios please)
4 new four-drawer file cabinets (with keys)
Laundry soap
Toilet paper
4 new office desk chairs
Round dinner plastic dishes (plates)

To donate any of these items please contact Jean Morgan, Community Outreach Director (510) 226-7141 ext. 201 or email jmorgan@abodeservices.org.

Items can also be dropped off Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., at Sunrise Village, 588 Brown Road, in Fremont.

For monetary donations, send checks to Abode Services, 40849 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, CA 94538. Donations may also be made online at www.abodeservices.org.


Save the Date!
Abode's fundraising event:
5th Annual Journey Home Breakfast
Thursday, March 11
7:30 a.m.
Fremont Marriott Hotel
46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont
For details and sponsorship information contact Carol Arata at (510) 657-7409 ext. 203 or carata@abodeservices.org.

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