Sometimes You Need More Than Just a Shelter

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Bill and returning guest, Lauren Pollick. This time around, Lauren, Shelters Program Manager at Interfaith, invites Bill to talk about his experience with our organization. Having endured a struggle that is familiar to many who have experienced homelessness, Bill’s story of addiction is an important lesson to learn from.

According to Bill, the grip that addiction has on you is a torturous one. Alcohol not only crippled his self-esteem, but also quite literally crippled his body. Bound to a walker and unable to take a step, it took the intervention of Interfaith’s Case Manager, Holly, to keep him alive. Fortunately, Bill was treated at a rehabilitation center just in time, but the true core of this story came right after. As he walked out of the hospital and willingly made his way back to Interfaith, he symbolically took the first and most important steps on the path to recovery: his own.

Now six months later, we are thankful to say that Bill is an anticipating graduate of our shelter programs with a place to call his own lined up… and at the age of 62 has returned to school. Now that’s what we call a lesson, folks.

Calls to Action:

  • Please give us a call at (760) 618-6811. We want to hear your messages about your good deeds. Tell us what you do to bring love to our world. We will be sharing those stories in future episodes.

  • It Takes a Village: Volunteer your services to help those who need it most. Learn more about how you can volunteer by visiting our website.

  • Believe in Change: A little support goes a long way. Bill was successful because we had faith in him. It may make the difference between someone continuing the cycle of homelessness or regaining their life.

  • Homeless Court: Interfaith has programs that could help you navigate the legal system or reduce/forgive legal fines. For more information about how you can receive this service, please call (760) 489-6380, and speak to our front desk staff.

Prescribing a Home: Health Beyond Healthcare

Dr. Patel, CEO of Neighborhood Healthcare, and host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, in the studio.

Dr. Patel, CEO of Neighborhood Healthcare, and host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, in the studio.

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Dr. Patel, CEO of Neighborhood Healthcare. Going on 50 years, Neighborhood Healthcare provides medical, dental, and behavioral services to low-income patients.

Having completed missions around the world, Dr. Patel returned with a desire to provide medical care in the U.S. for those that need it the most. Early on, he served as staff family physician at Neighborhood Healthcare. Having realized his desire to help beyond a one on one basis, Dr. Patel worked his way up to CEO of the organization and quickly focused on integrating social services with their existing medical services. Now partnering with Interfaith Community Services to do just that, the two community leaders discuss their shared mission, passion, and partnership.

Calls to Action:

  • Help Get Senate Bill 66 Passed – Unfortunately, patients cannot currently be treated for medical and behavioral services on the same visit; making it particularly difficult for patients to be treated for their needs. In an effort to help decrease no-show rates, SB66 will help remove this barrier for patients. Call your local representatives to voice your support for SB66. 

    Please contact your representatives and learn more about Senate Bill 66.

  • Support Heath Centers – visit Neighborhood Healthcare’s website to see how you can support their community work.

  • See Us in Action – On June 12th, Interfaith will be celebrating our 40-year anniversary. In an effort to showcase our service center’s operations, we will be opening our doors to you for a walkthrough of our facilities. Learn more about our Appreciation Event on our website.

  • Do you have a story to tell? Have you experienced homelessness or relate to the field somehow? Reach out through our website. We’d love to have you on!

Homeless Youth, Hopeful Growth

Abrea and David in the podcast studio.

Abrea and David in the podcast studio.

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Abrea Ponce and podcast alumnus David Baker. David and Abrea have dedicated their lives to helping homeless youth out of the difficulties they experienced first hand.

Having come from a variety of hardships, from being kicked out of her home at a young age, to entering the prison system right after, Abrea is now a Project Specialist at the Regional Task Force on the Homeless in San Diego. These experiences have redefined her perspective on many things and ultimately gave her new sense of purpose in helping homeless youth. It’s people like Abrea and David who show us that growth is truly possible and that the work being done to prevent these issues is in good hands.

Calls to Action:

  • Youth Listen up! – We need your voice to help with this movement. It is vital to ending youth homelessness that we solve these problems together.

  • Attend a Youth Advisory Board meeting

    Where: San Diego Youth Services in Point Loma - 3255 Wing St, San Diego, CA 92110.

    Date/Time: Every Thursday, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

    Come as you are; all are welcome. Stipends provided.

  • Contact David or Abrea directly if you need help

    David: (760) 519-4750.

    Abrea:  (619) 602-2006.

  • Provider Application – The Regional Task Force on Homeless has a Request for Proposal (RFP) out. Submit your proposal before June 30, to apply for funding for the following projects: Host Homes for Rapid Rehousing, Holistic Diversion/Prevention Services, Housing Navigators, and Youth Advisory Board.

  • Learn more about the Coordinated Community Plan.

  • Providers, learn more about the HUD's Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program.

  • Visit YMCA Youth and Family Services website and YMCA volunteer website for information on homeless youth prevention.

Love Thy Neighbor

Rabbi Castiglione and Greg Anglea at the recording studio

Rabbi Castiglione and Greg Anglea at the recording studio

On this special episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Rabbi David Castiglione. Rabbi Castiglione is a board member of Interfaith and Rabbi of Temple Adat Shalom, where Interfaith first started 40 years ago. Here to shed light on the recent events in Chabad of Poway, Rabbi Castiglione and Greg hope to bring an alternative message against the negativity around these tragic events.

During the events at Chabad of Poway, Rabbi Castiglione and Greg were only a few blocks away attending morning services at Temple Adat Shalom. When word came in of the shooting, the meeting they were having about Interfaith’s work was interrupted and the discussion about the importance of looking after your fellow neighbor was stopped. Everyone was told that it was best to side with safety and leave, but in that moment, something rang in the hearts of the attended. In what Rabbi Castiglione could only call, “an affirmation of religion,” instead of leaving and looking after themselves, everyone decided to further discuss the different ways they could help in these circumstances. They decided to side with compassion.

In that spirit, Rabbi Castiglione and Greg Anglea want to make special Calls to Action:

  • “Deed goes along with creed”

    Please give us a call at (760) 618-6811. We want to hear your messages about your good deeds. Tell us what you decide to do to bring light and love to our world. We will be sharing those stories in future episodes.

  • “I want you to love”

    Rabbi Castiglione says it’s easy to bring ourselves to see the young man as an incarnation of evil. Instead look at the human being that he still is and see the potential that was robbed from him. The most important thing you could do is to look at those difficult situations with love.

  • Attend the next General Membership Meeting - Diversity of Faiths: Wednesday June 19th, 11:00 am at the Betty & Melvin Cohn Center, 550 W Washington Ave, Escondido, CA 92025.

  • Join us a week before at the Betty & Melvin Cohn Center for our June 12th event celebrating 40 years of Interfaith community service.

  • Learn more about Temple Adat Shalom and stay tuned for more information on the Walk for Love.

We All Need Help In This Journey of Life

Greg, Brian, and Blondie in the podcast studio.

Greg, Brian, and Blondie in the podcast studio.

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Brian Myers, and his canine companion, Blondy. Brian is a veteran who has struggled with homelessness since serving our country.

Brian is a man of few words, but a heart full of hope. After the traumatic events of serving, he continues to battle with depression and his history of falling into homelessness multiple times. By connecting with different service organizations, he found support with non profit workers. One of which suggested he write in journals to regain his voice. Today, he stands as a man with a weathered voice that speaks of the hope in the dark.

Calls to Action:

Greg with podcast alumni Danielle and son.

Greg with podcast alumni Danielle and son.

  • Reach out to Danielle: she and her husband, Duane, are podcast alumni and she is currently in need of employment. With experience in the mortgage industry, Greg says that she is one of the best multitaskers he ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  • If you have any opportunity (Nights/Weekends or from Home) that she might be a good fit for, please click here to reach out.

Bring Back the Dignity: A Healing Journey

Analaura and Greg in the podcast studio

Analaura and Greg in the podcast studio

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Analaura. Analaura is a writer who shares her own experiences, perspectives, and struggles with homelessness.

Taking special note of the trauma homelessness causes, she reflects on the journey the last half of her life has taken her through. Whether it was growing up in a car with her entire family or trying to find housing with Interfaith, Analaura’s personal story is a truly touching account of overcoming both personal and circumstantial battles.

Calls to Action:

  • “Put down your perfection:” Analaura asks us to find it in ourselves to bring whatever we can to the table in spite of any apathy towards homelessness.

  • “Bring back the dignity:” Even if it’s a simple gesture or conversation, that sense of dignity may help those healing in their journey out of homelessness.

  • Read more about Analaura’s work on homelessness by visiting her blog.

  • Visit Feeding San Diego and the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Banks to help support local food banks.

  • Learn more about some of the organizations Interfaith partners with including Jewish Family Services and Dreams for Change.

Resilience and Grit: A Mother's Commitment to Her Children

Watch this episode!

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Sarah Gomez. Sarah is a Marine Corps veteran, mother of two, and graduate student at Cal State San Marcos. Today she is also an Instructional Technician and Academic Coach at the university.

Greg and Sarah discuss her journey from a successful homeowner to losing everything and becoming homeless with her two children and nowhere to go after her husband was sentenced to jail. Listen to learn how Sarah’s resilience and grit, and her commitment to her children led her to where she is today.

Calls to Action:

  • “If it wasn’t for Interfaith, then I would be one of those families on the street corner,” said Sarah, “Give to programs like Interfaith… Its why we’re here today.” Click here to donate.

  • Advocate to your elected officials to prioritize government grants to end and prevent homelessness for moms like Sarah - more resources for homelessness prevention are especially needed.

  • Interfaith has a special fund, “Offering Hope in Housing,” which is used to help those families facing imminent eviction. Click here, and select “Offering Hope in Housing” from the dropdown menu to donate to this fund and help mom’s like Sarah.

I'm Making a Mark in the World

Kim Mitchell, CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego; Rod Gabriel, army veteran and entrepreneur; Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services

Kim Mitchell, CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego; Rod Gabriel, army veteran and entrepreneur; Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services

On this episode of ‘Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,’ host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, is joined by CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), Kim Mitchell, and army veteran Rod Gabriel.

“Every veteran has raised their right hand, has committed an oath to serve and do something beyond themselves; yet, veterans are disproportionately represented among people experiencing homelessness,” says Greg. Army veteran, Rod, shares his inspirational story about the homelessness he experienced after serving in the military. His journey includes imprisonment, addiction, and homelessness, until he found VVSD, which helped him on his road to recovery and finding his path as a successful entrepreneur.

Calls to Action:

  • Visit the VVSD website to learn how you can get involved and help build public awareness

  • Be proactive in helping homeless veterans. Encourage them to seek services.

  • Have compassionate in outreach toward homeless veterans and do not make hasty assumptions.

  • Check out the Annual Stand Down: Stand Down 2019 is June 28th – June 30th at San Diego High School

  • Support organizations like VVSD and Interfaith financially and by volunteering.

  • Support veteran-owned and operated businesses such as Rod’s gym, Fit 2 Ripped

A Spiritual Perspective on Homelessness Part II

Four copies still available for giveaway! Check out our “Calls to Action” below for details on how to win.

Four copies still available for giveaway! Check out our “Calls to Action” below for details on how to win.

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Michael Williams, a published author and formerly homeless Marine Corps veteran, back to the show.

Michael Williams was a recipient of housing services at the Veterans Shelter at Interfaith. He volunteered during the morning meal service which helped integrate him back into society and gave him a sense of purpose by giving back. These very experiences led him to publishing: “Inspirational Stories of the Homeless: Dignity, Nobility, and Decency.”

“As I was doing my volunteer work, I became emotionally and spiritually moved by the acts of the dignity and nobility and kindness that I was seeing within the homeless population that would move and inspire me every morning. The book was a catharsis of all of this intensity of spirituality that I saw in the homeless community, and it’s something I felt is really not talked about,” said Michael.

The book is an accumulation of 10 stories that impressed him the most. One story Michael shared began at the shelter after breakfast was prepared by volunteers. He said they serve around 150 meals daily and people experiencing homelessness can take a sack lunch with them as they leave the shelter.

The program aims to guarantee two meals a day, but on some days, they run out of lunches. He felt touched by a woman who selflessly gave up her lunch for a 10 year old girl to eat later that day because they had ran out before the child was able to get one.

Michael also expressed the spirituality he experienced from homelessness - it deepened his awareness toward the human condition. Beyond mental illness and drug addiction, there are many other reasons people become homeless.

They discussed Michael’s life before he was forced to live on the streets. He was a successful man who not only was a consultant in the performing arts industry, but also an economics major, insurance salesman, and he served his country as a Marine Corp Infantry Officer.

What lead him to living on the streets was his denial of the chronic and severe pain he suffered. Michael was unable to receive treatment for it, and shared that applying for disability pay required a complicated journey that overwhelms many. Michael had to sell his home, goods, and eventually his car to get by until he was able to receive help at Interfaith.

He expressed his gratitude toward the donors who made it possible for him to regain his self-sufficiency and who gave back to the community. He is now able to live independently people who care.

Michael is especially grateful for peoples' help because of the homeless children that are out there that no one talks about. He made a point that there is no certain profile that characterizes how someone ends up homeless compared to another person. There are college students as well as children living on the streets. They are trying to get by, going to school every day, and seemingly leading normal lives. Sometimes, we can never tell who is suffering immensely.

Another spiritual aspect of the show was brought up: the flaw in all of us - judging others too quickly. “We don't know what someone is going through or what leads them to be cranky that day or why they’ve turn to drugs or alcohol to soothe their pain. We don’t know. And so I really encourage our listeners to read some of the stories we share here,” said CEO Greg Anglea.

Michael has been rehabilitated for several years and shared that coming out of homelessness is not an immediate action. He said that acquiring a home, wardrobe, and furniture will take time. He also talked about the reintegration processes involved in rehabilitation such as finding a church, hair stylist, and grocery store. He said it’s all a part of starting over, but he is content knowing he is a thriving member of his community again.

The first step of becoming rehabilitated was being able to rent an apartment.

“It was one of the happiest days of my life. I was elated when I got approved for that apartment, and it made a difference. I could not wait to move in. I remember going in. He handed me my keys and I looked around my apartment. It was my place and after having been homeless for so long, the feelings are really interesting,” said Michael.

He arrived to his apartment with nothing but the clothes on his back and a duffel bag full of his stuff. He slept on the floor a couple of days, but felt grateful to be indoors. During his adjustment period, he realized there are so many things taken for granted when it comes to living in a home - simple things like our wardrobe, dishes, and a couch in the living room.

It took Michael two years to go from an empty apartment to making a house a home. He said rebuilding is a process that requires taking one thing at a time, especially where mental and emotional recovery is concerned.

“So the journey of ending homelessness is not ended, it is still a continuous journey that takes years in order for people to get to a point where they can reenter what I would call typical middle class America which I was a part of prior to my illness,” said Michael.

CEO Greg Anglea and Michael Williams discussed how mental health issues are often not the reason someone ends up living on the street, contrary to popular belief. Michael's goal is to break apart shallow perceptions and inspire empathy and compassion toward those suffering from hardship.

“Very often, many people think that people experiencing homelessness are suffering from mental illness and it is not a contributing factor to their homelessness. They made good, solid, mature decisions, however, they were overwhelmed and they did not have resources to meet the challenge,” said Michael.

Michael shared that enduring homelessness caused a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety, and depression which is a condition he suffered from after he found himself in the reality of homelessness. Rehabilitation from those experiences may require a period of recovery time based on the traumatic events he encountered from losing his job, home, car, and livelihood.

“If there is a good side to it, from a spiritual basis, it’s made me a kinder, more empathetic, more understanding human being, and less judgmental. Being less judgmental is a true gift of humanity,” said Williams.

He is currently working on his 5th and 6th book to contribute to sharing how people go on journeys they never expected to have. His philosophy is: the more empathy we can have for others, the more human we can be.

When people contribute volunteer effort or make donations toward these programs, we are saying yes to children eating, veterans being rehabilitated, and deepening out humanity. Whether it’s yes to a bagged lunch or yes to resources that provide the ability to reach self-sufficiency, Interfaith aims to lend a hand up for all of those in need.

Calls to Action:

  • Four copies of Mr. William’s book left to give away! For a chance to win, submit your feedback about the show, or suggest a topic for an upcoming episode at: www.homelessinsandiego.org/get-in-touch

  • You can buy the book on Amazon.com - be sure to use AmazonSmile and select a nonprofit for Amazon to donate to (no cost to you!)

  • Contribute to whichever organization you are most drawn to by volunteering or donating to help people who need help.

  • Be empathetic and understanding toward people who are experiencing homelessness.

  • Look people in the eye to create a moment of connection that respects someone experiencing homelessness as another human being.

A Spiritual Perspective on Homelessness Part I

Michael Williams, published author and formerly homeless Marine Corp veteran, in the podcast studio!

Michael Williams, published author and formerly homeless Marine Corp veteran, in the podcast studio!

On this episode of 'Homeless in San Diego: Real People, Real Stories,' host Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services, welcomes Michael Williams, a published author and formerly homeless Marine Corps veteran.

The two discuss what life was like for Michael before he ended up on the streets - a successful man, who not only was a consultant in the performing arts industry for 10 years, but also has a degree in economics and served his country as a Marine Corp Infantry Officer. But then he got sick. He had to sell his home, goods, and eventually his car just to get by, until he was able to receive help at Interfaith. Michael makes a point to express his gratitude for the donors who support Interfaith, who ultimately made it possible for him to regain his self-sufficiency.

Calls to Action:

  • Download/listen to previous podcast episodes you may have missed - then, provide feedback about the show, ask questions, or suggest an issue to address on a future episode

  • For the first 10 people who reach out, Interfaith will do a giveaway of Mr. Williams book!

  • You can also buy the book on Amazon -be sure to use AmazonSmile and select a nonprofit for Amazon to donate to (no cost to you!)

  • Contribute to whichever organization you are most drawn to by volunteering or donating to help people who need help