In response to a lack of services for the homeless population in and around South Santa Clara County, California, a group of concerned citizens banded together to form the Gilroy Compassion Center. From humble origins in 2011, the Gilroy Compassion Center has quickly become a dominant advocate for homeless rights and services in the South County region.
Programs and Services of the Gilroy Compassion Center
Right from the beginning, the dedicated volunteers and staff of the Gilroy Compassion Center offered a wide range of services for the homeless population in and around Santa Clara County, including the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
The organization operates a Day Center for anyone who is homeless. This is a daily drop-in center that provides for basic needs of visitors, including food, hygiene products, clothing, and bathrooms. The Day Center also operates a weekly shower and laundry van, a novel means of providing critical on-the-go services for homeless residents. The mobile showering and laundry service was created with the help of the San Jose State University Engineering department. A women’s support group, routine medical van visits, and case management services are also part of the Day Center’s operation. The Day Center is open on weekdays from 8AM to 3PM.
Two innovative programs are the highlights of the humanitarian work the Gilroy Compassion Center offers to the homeless. First, in partnership with government agencies, charitable organizations, and universities, the Center has developed the Almost Home Camping Program, which provides safe campsites with shower facilities, food, and transportation. Next, the Morgan Hill Safe Parking Pilot project provides RV spaces in a secure setting for homeless people that rely on recreational vehicles and campers for shelter. This safe parking project was developed in conjunction with the Morgan Hill Police Department and the Morgan Hill Unified School District, serving as a model for other communities in Northern California and across the United States.
Compassion Village and Future Projects
Joe Davis, an entrepreneur and engineering expert in the technology industry, has worked closely with the Gilroy Compassion Center and the Santa Clara County Housing Department. Together, the development of Compassion Village, a proposal for a community of microhomes, is being undertaken. The tiny homes will serve as safe shelter for homeless residents, allowing them to achieve stability in their lives. While still in its early phases, this pilot project offers substantial benefits to participants, including:
- Being able to provide security for medications needed by residents.
- Providing shelter, regardless of weather conditions.
- Helping residents regain dignity while fostering a sense of normalcy.
- Building community compassion through outreach and charitable works.
The Gilroy Compassion Center is committed to helping area homeless residents with basic needs. By identifying a lack of services for the homeless and making steps to provide humanitarian services, the Center has fulfilled its mission. Innovative programs and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers strive to make positive changes in people’s lives. Through partnerships with other organizations, the Center’s services will continue to expand well into the future.
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