If anyone has a large family, you know that painting is something that must be done, sometimes more than once per year. High Desert Homeless Services has approximately 55 clients during most times of the year and our walls were past due for a fresh coat of paint. Normally, staff is so busy focusing on clients and their needs, it leaves no time for painting. This is why the offer of volunteers from St. Joseph Health/St. Mary Medical Group coming to paint was excitedly accepted.
The inside of the main shelter area, the living room and eating area were really ready for a makeover. On Friday, December 8, 2017, the team from St. Joseph Health/St. Mary Medical Group arrived at the shelter at around 8:00 a.m. and within only around 2 hours had the large area complete.
The area, which is now completely painted, looks amazing and we can not wait to now complete our Christmas decorations. We would like to thank those from St. Joseph Health/St. Mary Medical Group who took time out of their day to donate their time and energy to provide a fresh coat of paint. Thank you, St. Joseph Health/St. Mary Medical Group!
Do you ever walk or drive by a homeless person and wonder how you can help? The answer is never simple, some give food, a blanket, a jacket, socks, or bags of personal care items. All of those things help temporarily and temporarily is a great thing for someone living from moment to moment trying to survive. To most, living in a permanent home seems like a far-fetched dream that only other people have the luxury of. It is not that they are unwilling to work, living on the streets and surviving is an ongoing challenge and a lot of work.
Now, we are not saying to stop the temporary help, we love that our homeless friends are being loved and cared for. We are asking for help to help these men, women, and children get into permanent housing. How do we do this, you ask? We have not mastered it yet, but through many years of experience we are now able to provide our homeless clients with every opportunity to get back into stable employment and/or housing. With shelter for 30-90 days and 30-day extensions for those working hard to reach their goal, we are able to assist nearly all who are willing to take advantage of the program and all that it has to offer.
We offer three meals a day, snacks, personal care items, and clothing. We also offer a resource room and a specialist to help our clients produce a dynamic resume and search for a job. Once our client gets an interview, we have a clothing closet with professional clothes and shoes so that they can go out looking their best to the interview at the future job. We also provide GED test help, nutrition, financial literacy classes, and other learning experiences for our adult clients. For our children, with the help of other organizations, we provide tutoring, story time, nutrition, and physical health training. We also have a beautiful new playground at the shelter for our children to enjoy.
Many times our clients have opportunities to go on field trips like watching the recording of a major television show and/or going to the circus. We have around 55 clients at most times, and our costs are high. Grants and fundraisers alone do not provide enough for us to get by. We need our community to continue to help, for those who already do, and for those who do not we need your help too! Even $5 a month can make a difference in the lives of the homeless men, women. and children we serve and can provide the staff with the security that we can forget about the bills and work only to help our clients get back on their feet.
Of course, the help is needed year around, but High Desert Homeless Services is involved in Give Big San Bernardino County. We need your help on #GivingTuesday. Once you get turkey wasted on Thursday, go shop at the HDHS Discount & Thrift store for new and used items for Black Friday sales, then on Saturday shop again at HDHS Discount & Thrift Store for Small Business Saturday, for Cyber Monday shop on Amazon and select High Desert Homeless Services as your charity of choice of Amazon Smile, and most of all, we need your help on Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for us to not only bring in the donations you make, but have some of those donations matched or we can even win cash prizes for things like the most unique donors (counted by unique email addresses), or several other factors. We need your help to donate and share with everyone you know to make the biggest difference in the lives of homeless men, women, and children.
It takes a village to tackle homelessness, this holds true even for those ready to make the change from homelessness to with home.
Homeless shelters do receive grants; many of the grants restricted to cover certain things and others which are also graciously received, but only cover a small portion of the high costs of keeping a shelter running and functioning in the best way possible. High Desert Homeless Services (HDHS) appreciates all grants and private/business donations that help the shelter function to serve approximately 55 people of all ages, at just about all times throughout the year. The goal is to eventually not only to maintain, but to grow, not only as far as services are concerned, but growth in order to assist more homeless men, women, and children who are in need of the temporary assistance.
HDHS has many local businesses who show their support throughout the year with donations, both cash and other. We also have numerous fundraisers and our quaint downtown Victorville thrift store, which help us provide the funds we need to function or provide additional services to better the lives of those we serve. Those who support these endeavors are in turn supporting homeless men, women, and children as they work hard to get back on their feet.
Just Friday, Southwest Gas donated $1000. This surprise donation was orchestrated with the help of Jason Hall, who also serves as the Homeless Shelter computer technician. All donations are appreciated very much and are needed. We thank Southwest Gas for their contribution to HDHS and to our amazing community. We also would like to thank Jason Hall, our amazing supporter and computer technician.
VICTORVILLE - Grateful smiles could be seen all around the High Desert Homeless Shelter on Tuesday evening.
Azmi Alsanam, the owner of Simple Auto Sales and the host the YouTube channel, Ozzy The BS filter requested a meeting with Jimmy Waldron the executive director of High Desert Homeless Services (HDHS). Only a couple of weeks ago he met with the HDHS board president and gifted the shelter $360, $180 from an auction he hosted on his Youtube channel, matched with an additional $180 from Alsanam. The generous donation was appreciated very much by the shelter which has very high costs associated with the everyday costs to house, supply, and otherwise provide for approximately 55 clients. “Financially speaking, it is never easy making ends meet,” said HDHS Board Treasurer Gary Martin. “Due to the restrictions placed on grants and grants that will soon, not be available we can use all the help we can get. We appreciate the relief donations from our community and local businesses provide to the shelter.”
On Tuesday afternoon Waldron went to the Simple Auto Sales location at, 17085 Bear Valley road in the City of Hesperia for the meeting with Alsanam. When arriving he was aware that he would be on the YouTube Channel live to accept a check collected of funds collected by Ozzy the BS Filter channel followers and matched by Alsanam but was surprised to find out the check was in the amount of $1000. While there, Alsanam, who has provided ongoing donations and as-needed assistance to the shelter and the shelter’s clients asked that a portion of the check went to purchasing pizza for all of the clients. As requested, Waldron ordered enough pizza for all of the clients at the homeless shelter at Oggi’s Pizza. The shelter cook was also grateful to have an easier day, only having to make a giant salad and serve the clients, thanks to Alsanam and those who donated.
Excited clients lined up to get their pizza, some coming back for seconds and thirds. All asked that Alsanam was thanked on their behalf. Alsanam said that he will be accepting donations on behalf of High Desert Homeless Services and will continue to match the donations. He agreed to pay every time the donation reached $500, or $1000 combined with his matched contribution.
All too often those in any nonprofit sector are questioned and that is understood because at some point, we also may have asked the same questions. One of the major questions asked of those serving the homeless population is, if you are helping the homeless why are there so many homeless people still on the street? There is a valid answer to this, actually several and blame should not really fall anywhere; it is simply reality.
Mental health issues are prevalent in the San Bernardino County, and probably even more so in the High Desert. There is no particular reason why, but some these people possibly migrated here since there is more space to set up camp. Mental health can be very minor, with a lot of “regular” working people with families falling into that category. These people often function well in society and run into few difficulties and when they do, most seek professional help. There are others who fall into the moderate to the major mental health condition category. Some of these people are aware of their mental condition but once their medication begins to work they stop taking it because they feel that they are “better”. These people fail to realize not all medication makes you better, mental health medication simply balances and maintains. Others simply can not think clearly enough to know that a mental health condition exists.
When someone is mentally ill and they do not know a problem exists they can act in several different ways. Some of these people are suspicious and show signs of paranoia, others appear angry or aggressive, some forget or never knew they are worth a ‘normal’ life, some are happy being ‘free’, while others may act impulsively. A large group of these people become desperate to feel stable and self medicate using illegal drugs or alcohol. There is help for all of these groups, but not all want the help [yet] , some fear the help, and some are not ready to attempt to stop using drugs or alcohol. There are also a few ready to accept the help but navigating through the system without a lot of support proves to be just too much for him/her. To assist any homeless person, they must be a willing participant ready and able to take the first steps. The law prevents anyone from pulling a mentally ill person off the street for forced help besides for a 5150 hold (72-hour hold), which must be done by family, a boarding facility, law enforcement, or a mental health professional. A 5150 hold is designed to be used only when a person appears to be a danger to him/herself or others and the person is only held until he/she is stabilized. Once stabilized this person is sent back out and usually without support they discontinue the mood-stabilizing medications.
A portion of the unsheltered homeless have a substance use disorder. This is not necessarily something we need to blame on anything in particular. To attempt to solve any issue, blame should be put aside. This is not to say understanding or becoming knowledgeable about why these things happen is not productive. We already talked about impulsivity, this can be a result of multiple mental disorders. This can simply mean when someone else would possibly say “no” when offered alcohol or a drug, this person may say, “yes! Why not?” This is not a “bad” person, this person simply has a different thought process than some of us. Another path to addiction could be someone who suffers from major depression or another mental disorder leaving the person more often than not, feeling helpless, sad, alone or simply unstable. This person may or have may not have sought mental health care or medication, but most medications take weeks to work and some may require a change in dose or a change in type. Without constant support, a large portion of these people will feel it is too difficult and give up. The remaining feelings of helplessness or isolation can lead to the desperate measure of trying a substance to feel better for at least a short time. Drug users and alcoholics contrary to the belief of some, are not “bad” or “weak” people.
Of the homeless people you see on the street, a large portion are 290 registrants, meaning they committed a sexual crime (rape, child molestation, etc.). These people are difficult to place even after they served their time. Be honest, would you be thrilled to have one of these people move in next door to your family? Most would not, and the truth is a portion do reoffend. The rate is not as high as one would think, a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that the rate of recidivism is 10%-15% after five years, 20% after 10 years, and 30%-40% after 20 years. Most homeless shelters, due to the risk to other clients do not accept any sex offenders. There are organizations who will shelter and provide services to this group.
There is a small group who does not seek assistance and sometimes hides from the public because they are afraid to lose their child/children. These families sometimes live out of a vehicle or on the street in temperatures that in the High Desert can be extreme, 100-plus degrees in the summer and as low as 30-degrees in the winter. Homelessness alone is not a reason for a child to be removed from the custody of his/her/their parents. If the parents seek shelter for their child in a safe environment, like a homeless shelter Children and Family Services (CFS) will not intervene unless there are other major concerns (abuse, neglect, and/or parental substance abuse). Few do in fact, qfear losing their children only because of homelessness, but there are some. The majority of those living on the streets with their children do unfortunately fall into one of the other categories and are often already hiding from CFS.
One of the saddest categories, and again, this is a small percentage is those who are homeless with pets. Most homeless shelters, because of size and funding do not have the capability to house pets. High Desert Homeless Services works closely with local rescues in order to provide off-site fostering for the pet of the homeless person. The reason why the homeless person often does not accept the help in this case, is because they feel that the pet is all that they have. They grew to love their pet like a child, their best friend and in many cases their only support while on the cold, harsh, and sometimes dangerous streets.
Homelessness is never a cut and dry subject and there is never the same story for each homeless person. When you talk to a homeless person on the street you probably, just like speaking with anyone else you do not know will not get the exact truth but rather their interpretation. Also, some being in a desperate situation and seeking money, food, etc. may purposely mislead the person listening. If offered resources, some will willingly accept them and thank you, while others will say something like “they all turned me down” or “they are full” when it may not be the case. The best advice is to leave them with a resource list, a simple meal/snack, water, weather appropriate clothing, socks, and other basic needs. Some are not ready quite yet, but with gentle reminders that there are people who would like to help they may one day be prepared to accept that help.
For whatever reason you or your children may need a shower, High Desert Homeless Services opens up to the public three days a week to provide that.
We do not care the reason, we are here to help and will provide everything you need to help you get cleaned up. Do you have an interview the next day and need proper attire? Let us know and we will do our best to provide you with interview clothing.
Shower Hours for the Public are:
Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m.
High Desert Homeless Services does not only serve the homeless, when we are able, we also serve those in our community. Each week we open our clothing closet to anyone in our community who is in need of clothing or shoes. The clothing closet hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Come get the clothing that you are in need of, we would love to have you.
The High Desert Homeless Thrift Store is now open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We also have launched a new Facebook fan page, so please "like" the page to see what is in store for you. The thrift store is located at 15626 6th Street in the City of Victorville. The store hours are
Monday through Thursday from 9am-1:45 pm, Friday 9am-12:45 pm, and Saturday from 10am-2pm. Please also watch our youtube video to see just some of the great items we have available.
Last week the Founder and Director of Mojave Desert Animal Rescue (MDAR) Annie Lancaster reached out to High Desert Homeless Services (HDHS) to ask if we could use bottled water. With water being one of the things that we can always use, we of course, said yes. On Monday, June 12, 2017, two volunteers with HDHS met with Annie to pick up the water. Annie mentioned to bring a truck, but we were pleasantly surprised when the donation filled up the bed of the truck. Thank you Annie Lancaster and MDAR for your generous support.
Mary Jo Kirsch, a Victorville real estate professional working with Capstone Realty has been supporting High Desert Homeless Services for several months. She donated brand news shoes, fundraiser prizes, Christmas gifts for clients, Easter Baskets, as well as other items.
Recently, when Kirsch saw of our thrift store now opening on Saturdays, she offered to donate adorable lamps and other items to assist us in raising the funds needed to operate the shelter. Thank you Mary Jo Kirsch and all others who support High Desert Homeless Services for all of your support.