Home BLOG and EVENTS Blog Articles #rethinkhomelessness

#rethinkhomelessness

"Cardboard Stories" is a film by Rethink Homelessness, a non-profit located in Central Florida that wants to change the way the world sees the homeless. Each of the homeless clients CAPSLO homeless services works with has a unique and often surprising story, too. Recently Heather, a CAPSLO Shelter Worker, reflected on the many clients who are employed yet still need shelter as they get back on their feet:

The cashier ringing up our groceries. The guy making our sandwiches during the lunch hour rush.  The bartender serving up drinks until 2 am. The bus driver making his rounds in the city.  The single mom sitting next to us in class at Cuesta College.

These are not the people that typically come to mind when we envision who the homeless in our community are, but the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter (MLM), at least for a brief time, has been home for each one of these hard working individuals.

Working while homeless brings its own set of challenges. One young adult, the bartender, gets to shelter after 3 am, less than 3 hours before lights at MLM come back on.  Another gentleman, the bus driver, wakes up at 4 am to start his early morning bus routes. They are fortunate enough to have jobs and a path out of homelessness, but working and using shelter services for showers, meals, a place to sleep, and support from staff as they work towards returning to a home of their own is not always easy. Shelter services run on a tight schedule, everyone contributes to the shelter upkeep through the completion of chores, and there is little privacy when you are sharing a dormitory with 49 other people.  At MLM, staff are constantly inspired by the hard work and perseverance clients exhibit while maintaining a job or staying in school.

Because homeless individuals and families that are served by MLM don't necessarily "look homeless," it can be easy to forget that many of the people navigating homelessness in the community will be homeless for three months or less and really just need temporary support while they get back on their feet and into a home of their own.  Every time a client no longer needs MLM services it is a victory hard won, and staff are so grateful to be a part of the path back to self-sufficiency.

You can make a difference for SLO County's homeless men, women, and children by making a donation to our summer fund drive for the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter, volunteering, or donating items off of our needs list:

  • Disposable plates (9"), bowls, hot and cold beverage cups, disposable forks, spoons, knives
  • Pens and markers
  • Trash bags and Ziploc bags
  • Plastic Wrap/aluminum foil
  • Bath towels (new or gently used)
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hotel/travel size soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste
  • First-Aid items
  • NEW socks and NEW underwear (men, women, and children)
  • Backpacks (new or gently used)
  • Earplugs

Donated items to Homeless Services can be delivered to the Prado Day Center (preferably between 2-4pm).

For more information about ways to get involved, please contact Bryn Smith at 805.544.4355 ext 175.