I used to associate the homeless with the drugged-out looking people dressed in rags and pushing a shopping cart full of junk. While this might be what we often see on the streets, there’s another side of homelessness that most of us don’t encounter. These are people who had a job and a place to live but because of mitigating circumstances, they lost it all. Perhaps they got laid off or some other event in their life (death, divorce, illness) caused a large enough financial downturn so they could no longer afford housing for themselves and their family. Being homeless was not a choice for them.
According to InnVision Shelter Network, over 26,000 people become homeless annually across San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, including many families and Veterans. InnVision Shelter Network is dedicated to helping homeless families and individuals in these counties return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. They have 18 facilities throughout Silicon Valley and the Peninsula, serving 1,000 individuals each night, including adults and children. In addition, through their network of employees and volunteers, InnVision Shelter Network provides life skills, financial advice, job placement and many other services to ensure a successful future for their clients.
I’ve volunteered for and supported InnVision Shelter Network for several years. What I’ve learned is that their clients are no different than you or me. They want the same things in life—a fulfilling job, healthy and happy children, a safe place to live. They are part of our community, and in the holiday spirit of bringing community together and giving back, I hope you choose to support them too.