Navy Veteran Housed on Valentine's Day!

Navy Veteran Robin was housed last week on Valentine's Day! Here he is pictured at the BRC, ready to leave with his keys and move-in kit. Robin served in the Navy from 1957 to 1966.

According to Callie Gregg, HomeFirst VESP SC Outreach/Case manager, Robin made people smile and laugh. "He made sure any new veteran that came to HomeFirst would be welcomed warmly," shared Callie, who helped house Robin in three months with the help of Jose Toledo, HomeFirst VESP Housing Specialist.

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Video: 2019 Santa Clara County Homeless Memorial

"One lives in the hope of becoming a memory."
-Antonio Porchia

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the annual Santa Clara County Memorial Service on Feb. 13 to honor and remember the 158 men, women, and children who died while homeless in 2018.

Let us all not give up on the fight to end homelessness together.

Want to help make caps for our guests, too?

HomeFirst Volunteer Alpana and the Cozy Cap Campaign has donated over 700 new handmade knitted caps for our guests! We cannot thank you all enough for spending the time to knit these beautiful caps for our guests to keep them warm, especially in cold, rainy weather. Thank you again Alpana and friends!!!

If you’d like to help donate new caps, scarves, socks, sweaters, and underwear to keep our guests warm, or volunteer to teach a knitting class or skill that you feel is important for our guests to learn, please email us!

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Pic: HomeFirst Recovery Group Volunteers

Volunteer Yyonne drives from Santa Cruz to San Jose and volunteers every Thursday to talk with our guests about sobriety and recovery. Mike, left, was a recent guest speaker brought in by Yvonne. They were introduced to HomeFirst by Callie Gregg, one of our case managers. All three have been clean and sober for over nine years, Mike the longest with 36 years under his belt.

"We started it for the Veterans only, but then decided the whole shelter could use it," shared Callie. "Yvonne finds speakers that have been in recovery for a long time and that can relate to the clients at BRC."

If you have a skill or passion for something that could possibly help our clients, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Jaclyn Salinas, at JSalinas@homefirstscc.org.

Pictured: Callie (middle) with Mike and Yvonne.

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HomeFirst met with incarcerated Veterans this week

Callie Gregg, HomeFirst VESP SC Outreach/Case Manager, spoke with incarcerated Veterans this past Monday and Tuesday at Mule Creek State Prison about services and an exit plan for housing HomeFirst can offer them once they are released.

The Veterans also learned about SB-776, which just passed in CA, and allows incarcerated Veterans to file for claims. "How cool is it that when these clients come out of prison they will already possibly have an income vs. us having to wait for the process to get started once they are released and at HomeFirst," shared Callie.

Callie (middle) is pictured with co-speakers Patrick L. Merrill, LCSW Incarcerated Veteran Re-Entry Specialist from the VA in Sierra Nevada HCS and Mary Donovan Veterans Claim Analyst- CDCR Liaison from CalVet in Oakland.

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Pic: HomeFirst CCP Helping During 2019 Point-In-Time Count

Lenae, Mary, and Ilene from our Care Coordination Project (or CCP) program volunteered for the 4 a.m. shifts during the 2019 Point-In-Time-Count. They were featured on ABC7 News, and we thank all of our staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers for braving the cold on both days to help accurately count those living on the streets.

The Point-In-Time count is so important and vital to ensuring that Santa Clara County receives its fair share of resources needed to end homelessness.

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Pic: Dr. Peter Fung, our IFTC 2018 dance auction winner

At our "In From the Cold" fundraiser last November, Dr. Peter Fung of El Camino Healthcare District bid and won the auction for private dance lessons. Unfortunately the dance studio he was supposed to take lessons with closed due to a medical emergency, and Alison Hurwitz saved the day by honoring Dr. Fung's auction certificate at her dance studio.

Dr. Fung and his wife Julia enjoyed their first "fantastic" dance lesson with Instructor Alison last night!

Alison is a highly recommended and loved dance instructor by her students in San Jose, so please visit her website www.dancewithalison.com/about-alison/ if you want to learn from the best dance instructor!

Thank you Dr. Fung and Alison for supporting HomeFirst!!!

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Words of Hope and Love

Renee Mussomeli, one of our awesome Annex volunteers and "In From the Cold" 2019 committee members, found beautiful cards today made for our guests while sorting through care packages sent in by young children and their families.

Such wise words and warm wishes from the youth for those who are less fortunate, and want a home to call their own.

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MILPITAS YOUTH HELP HOMEFIRST AGAIN

We received another lovely visit this Friday afternoon from Rancho Milpitas Middle School.

Thank you to 8th graders James (pictured), Willy, Isabella and Morgen for putting together much-needed hygiene kits for our homeless guests.

James and his friends included a range of items from deodorant, floss, small towels, mouthwash and lotion in their kits.

Thank you also to Ms. Victoria Salcedo for teaching the importance of community service, and for requiring a service learning project in her 8th grade English class.

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YOUNG MILPITANS FOR THE COMMUNITY

We received another wonderful visit from Rancho Milpitas Middle School this afternoon!

Thank you to 8th graders Jonathan and Janpreet for researching, and choosing HomeFirst as part of your community service project. We appreciate the kits you both put together, which included bags of snacks, water bottles, soap, deodorant and more for our homeless guests.

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Pic: 600 handmade knitted caps for HomeFirst guests

Thank you to Alpana and friends of Cozy Cap Campaign for stopping by our Milpitas office with over 450 new and handmade knitted caps to keep our women, men, and children warm this season!

Alpana came up with the idea of knitting caps for our guests when she attended a meeting about the homeless in Sunnyvale last August. She connected with a HomeFirst representative, and now also wants to teach knitting classes at the BRC in San Jose.

The Cozy Cap Campaign has donated a total of over 600 knitted caps to HomeFirst! Thank you again to Alpana and friends for all of your continuous support!

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Akshay Is Undeterred!

Akshay, a sophomore at Homestead High School and Life Scout with Troop 508, really wanted to make winter kits for our clients as part of an Eagle service project, but was told the kits would not satisfy certain requirements.

Still concerned about our guests, he decided to move forward with the winter kits and do it on his own as a personal project, and assembled 144 kits with his friends, their parents and Scouts from Troop 508!

Pictured: Akshay and his friends as they assembled blankets, gloves, socks, ponchos, beanies and more into the kits.

Thank you Akshay for not giving up, and for thinking of those who are less fortunate!

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Pics: Sunnyvale’s Holiday Party

GIVING BACK: Thank you to Sarah J., a longtime HomeFirst supporter, for generously thinking of our Sunnyvale shelter, and hosting a wonderful Christmas party for our guests. A good time was clearly had by all, especially the kids!

Thank you also to Santa Clara County Board President Joe Simitian for distributing holiday cards and gift cards at our Sunnyvale and Mountain View shelters!

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