High Desert Homeless Services, Inc. HDHS is a local, private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been assisting homeless persons since June 1988. The mission of HDHS is to assist residents of the Victor Valley and High Desert area of San Bernardino County who have been displaced from long-term housing due to natural disaster or loss of income, and to assist non-residents by providing short-term emergency shelter. HDHS provides a safe, structured living environment for those individuals and families who are willing to work toward regaining their independence, and obtain stable housing. This includes providing 24-hour residential services to a maximum of 55 people at one time, for up to 90 days, with a possible 30-day extension in extenuating circumstances.

HDHS's main goal or outcome objective is for our shelter clients to become independent, financially stable, and self-sufficient. Each individual and family, through following the prescribed plan of action, will achieve success. During the time these individuals are in shelter, The program assists them by reinforcing and modeling, structured living, helping in individual goal setting and follow through, supplying individual needs (i.e. interview clothing, toiletries, etc.), while providing a safe living environment for them. This is to give them freedom from worry about basic necessities and release to them the opportunity to seek employment and stable housing. The clients responsibility is to take advantage of all the programs the shelter has to offer and work toward their goal of independence.

One of our most recent accomplishments was the inclusion of a comprehensive program for the young children and older youth who reside at our emergency shelter. We have been able to provide childcare on a part-time basis, to enable the parents to attend classes and receive individual counseling and casework. Our childcare center has two bathrooms with appropriate sized facilities. There is also a large room where the young children can take part in arts, crafts, and other activities appropriate for their age level. In addition we have an outside play area with equipment provided in a safe and age appropriate manner. We have also been able to provide our older youth with a program, which includes field trips to museums, libraries, public offices, private business, amusement parts, public parks, festival/carnivals, parades and county fairs. It also includes arts and crafts and interaction with and proper care of domesticated animals. Homework assistance is available. The children are encouraged to interact by writing essays, stories and/or drawing pictures regarding the trips they have taken and what they have learned and/or experienced during these trips.

We have also been able to offer a variety of classes to our adult residents including GED preparation, computer literacy, job skills, and life skills classes, whenever a teacher is available. This has enabled our clients to be better prepared when they do begin to search for permanent employment and housing. We currently have a success rate of 85-90% in clients who obtain income and 60-70% who obtain stable housing upon exiting our program.

The geographic areas served on a long-term basis through our agency includes the High Desert areas of Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley, Pinion Hills, Phelan, Adelanto, Wrightwood, and the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. Short-term basis includes anyone requesting our service who do not reside in the above referenced areas. Any family member who is considered short-term but secures employment within the week allotted them is automatically then viewed as a resident of the High Desert, which then permits them long-term residency at High Desert Homeless Services.

Ongoing case management helps our clients to set long and short term goals, a saving plan, a job search plan, etc. Seminars and individual help teach our guests budgeting, job search skills, interview and resume techniques, independent living skills, anger management, and parenting skills. Computer literacy, English and math literacy are available through computer tutorials. We provide a 55-bed facility for homeless men, women and children with shelter, food, clothing, and basic necessities. We are the only full service homeless agency between Barstow and San Bernardino.

Community awareness of the homeless population for our service area is an ongoing process. We are constantly seeking solutions to the problems of homelessness. It is necessary that the community recognizes and understands this problem in order to help provide solutions to resolve this issue. We provide a community awareness program throughout our service area, through presentations to service clubs, city governments, the business community, churches, schools and the general public.

These presentations are made to educate the community about the homeless problem in our area, the services our agency provides and the assistance we need to help improve these services and work toward alleviation of the problem.

The purpose of these presentations is to provide the community with information in order for them to understand the scope and problems of the homeless in their community. Through education come solutions. Through increased community awareness and participation, the participants in our program will receive increased benefits and assistance in successfully bringing order back to their lives.