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March 9, 2012 > Helping the homeless find their way home

Helping the homeless find their way home

By Jessica Noel Waymire

For the last year, Alice* has had no place to lay her head. Instead of drawing a cozy bath at the end of a hard week, she seeks out local churches where she can shower. With no home and no bed, Alice's car doubles as her bed and transportation. How has she managed to get through this struggle? By finding help through Abode Services.

Fremont based Abode Services began in 1989 when members of the local faith community gathered together to realize a common vision of helping the homeless in southern Alameda County. In the last 23 years, Abode has helped countless community members find homes and jobs through the 22 services they offer. Alice is one of Abode's success stories. In January, she found a job through a job fair and has been saving up for a place of her own. The HOPE Project Mobile Health Clinic, one of Abode's many services, was vital in helping Alice in her time of need. Through them, Alice was able to get leads for work, interview preparation, vouchers for work clothes, and even new glasses. Alice's puppy, Marty, wasn't overlooked either. HOPE and Abode connected Alice with local veterinary offices to ensure that the sweet puppy she found on the streets was taken care of too.

On March 15 Abode Services will be hosting its 7th Annual Journey Home Breakfast Fundraiser. This is the only fundraising event the organization holds. The breakfast is a one-hour event, free to anyone who wants to come and learn more about this great organization and its services. During the breakfast, Executive Director Louis Chicoine will share news and updates from the program. A program participant will be sharing a success story. Breakfast attendees can learn about the issues surrounding homelessness in the local community and discover ways of making a difference for this marginalized group. Donations will be accepted during the breakfast.

The key to Abode's program is a combination of finding housing for the low-income homeless and offering support services. Abode's number one goal is to end homelessness. Through their many low-income housing options, they are making that goal a reality. The latest housing option offered through Abode is the Main Street Village in Fremont. According to their Web site Main Street Village is a "green-certified permanent supportive housing complex for homeless and low-income families and individuals in Fremont's Irvington District." Abode received more than 2,000 applications for the 63 new units.

In addition to emergency shelter and temporary and permanent housing options, Abode offers a number of other services. One that readers may already be familiar with is the HOPE (Homeless Outreach People Empowerment) Project. This mobile health clinic is a joint project with Tri-City Health Center. HOPE provides medical exams, mental health services, substance abuse recovery, and many other services five days a week throughout Fremont, Livermore, and Pleasanton.

Abode wants its participants to not only find housing and work, but to become well, fully independent individuals. With their many work referral programs, health services, and other support services, Abode has created many success stories. Last year, Abode assisted over 3,500 individuals and more than a quarter of them were children. The charity evaluator service, Charity Navigator, has given Abode four out of four stars for seven years, a distinction received by less than five percent of charitable organizations rated. It is clear that Abode Services has a vital place in this community.

When looking around our tidy suburban neighborhoods, it is easy to think that homelessness isn't an issue. Homelessness is not isolated to big cities; it is alive and well in the local community. These displaced community members are in dire need of assistance. With the help of volunteers and organizations like Abode Services, those in need can find a fresh start. Please consider volunteering or making a donation to this amazing organization today. Donations are accepted through Abode's Web site at http://www.abodeservices.org/.

Journey Home Breakfast Fundraiser
Thursday, March 15
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Fremont Marriott
46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont
(510) 657-7409 x203
www.abodeservices.org

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