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January 14, 2011 > Hayward C.A.N. reaches out to business community

Hayward C.A.N. reaches out to business community

Submitted By Sara Lamnin

Hayward Community Action Network (CAN), a program of the non-profit collaborative known as the South Hayward Parish whose primary mission has been to provide a compassionate presence for under-served populations in our area and to work for social justice for all residents for almost 40 years, is reaching out to the local business community to help end homelessness in Hayward.

By eliminating panhandling, increasing connection to resources and facilitating self-sufficiency, Hayward CAN strives to improve the quality of life for all residents. To this end, CAN has launched a new business outreach effort to put food and services information into the hands of those in need.

Businesses are encouraged to put out the informational fliers for their customers to use if they are approached by panhandlers.

"If someone is really willing to work for food," says Hayward CAN Director, Sara Lamnin, "then this flier has job, food, housing and other resource information. If they are just looking for free money or running a scam, then Hayward is no longer profitable for those types of activities."

Hayward CAN utilizes a self-empowerment model to build the capacity of its members to successfully overcome the structural factors that place them at risk of either becoming homeless or sustaining a current state of homelessness. The individuals who currently live on the street initiated this effort to eliminate panhandling.

In accordance with the EveryOne Home and Federal plans, the program offers a continuum of services to position its members to achieve basic needs stability, attain self-sufficiency and develop leadership skills through civic engagement.

In its two years of operation, Hayward CAN has helped more than a dozen people move off the streets into housing, school and/or jobs. CAN members sign on to become "part of the solution," agree to a code of conduct and are instrumental in creating proactive approaches to community needs. In November, 25 members participated in the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Downtown cleanup - marking the tenth time members have actively participated in community health and safety events.

In 2011, CAN will launch two job training programs, a sewing and alterations class and an urban farm, in collaboration with other local programs.

For more information about Hayward CAN's efforts to end homelessness, email haywardcan@gmail.com, visit www.SouthHaywardParish.org/hcan or call (510) 432-7703.

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