No matter how extra-ordinary these times are, the holiday season is upon us and this year won’t be the same for anyone. And while we are “all in this together,” the reality is that we can’t all be together, in the same way, this year. Doors are usually open for Thanksgiving and Holiday meals, parties, and connections with friends and family, and in usual times, our Team Members have access to community gatherings to celebrate the season. But these are not usual times, and because of the extra-ordinary circumstances they face, our Team Members need us now more than ever.
Gaps in service have widened during the pandemic, and Downtown Streets Team has increased services to meet the need. The same resources that were available pre-pandemic are either limited or gone altogether. There are fewer resources available to people experiencing homelessness and more people are accessing the limited resources available.
To bridge the widening gap in services, Downtown Streets Team created the C.A.R.E. Ambassador Team to help our neighbors experiencing homelessness stay safe from COVID by providing masks and sanitizer. Additionally, we have emphasized helping anyone who is on our Team or waitlists get access to available housing and basic needs such as food, medicine, and transportation.
We refuse to let any of our Team Members fall through the cracks – there is too much at stake for our Team Members and communities. It can add years of recovery to someone’s journey out of homelessness if they don’t receive the support and resources they need, and we can’t let that happen. Downtown Streets Team HAS NOT and WILL NOT STOP working with Team Members to help them maintain their sense of self-worth and purpose. We continuously lift our Team Members out of a system that fails them, and we must continue to provide stability in our Team Member’s lives.
Your contribution is a commitment that, together, we will never give up on the people who need our help the most. During this extra-ordinary holiday season, we are counting on your support more than ever before. Will you please consider an extra-ordinary contribution this year?
At this time last year “Coach” was sleeping in a tent at the corner of 18th and Van Ness in San Francisco. “I hated the holidays – I know people are trying to be nice when they say, “Merry Christmas,” but when you don’t have anywhere to go for the holidays – it’s messed up and there isn’t anything to be merry about.”
For the first time in three years, Coach will be sleeping inside this holiday season and will be spending some time with his sister. “I am really looking forward to Christmas this year – my favorite thing about Christmas is watching the kids open their presents. Watching them get their new bikes or whatever it is, I just love seeing that.”
Since March 14th, Downtown Streets Team has housed 57 Team Members and helped 82 find employment. Even in the face of what they have been through this year, our Team Members continue to demonstrate resiliency on their path out of homelessness. Team Members Steven and Kimberly lost their business in March and had to live in an RV for seven months. As a result of your continued support, and the efforts of our entire DST community, Steven and Kimberly are now housed and have an extraordinary holiday season to look forward to.