In February 2015, I took the helm at Father Joe’s Villages full of drive and determination to take on the sacred mission of ending homelessness in San Diego. My first year provided me an education as to the enormity of the problem, but it also showed me that there are proven solutions and effective programs that aid our clients in closing a traumatic chapter in their lives.
I’ve heard stories of desperation that break my heart and tales of inspiration that fill my soul. Each and every day I continue to be astounded by the tremendous good that is accomplished within our programs through the unwavering dedication of our clients, staff, volunteers, Ladies’ Guild members, Boards of Directors and donors.
One important lesson that I’ve learned is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to homelessness. In order to effectively address the needs of each of our clients, our programs must continue to be both diverse and adaptable. That is why, at Father Joe’s Villages, we are constantly focused on expanding and improving our programs.
New Year-round Shelter – Last year, Father Joe’s Villages provided a permanent and service-focused alternative to the winter tents that the City of San Diego had erected each year since the 1990s. Already showing early signs of being more effective, our new interim housing program gets more people off the streets and increases clients’ access to the life-changing services of Father’s Joe’s.
Leading Model in California – Project 25, a program of Father Joe’s Villages that focuses on helping the most chronically homeless individuals in the county, received recognition last year for saving taxpayers nearly $4 million. This program earned local and national accolades and instigated legislative efforts to create similar programs throughout California.
Program Expansion – In 2015, we expanded our services, creating a new rapid rehousing program for homeless families. In 2016, we will continue to expand our rapid rehousing efforts to include more single women and men.
2016 will also see us focused on new permanent supportive housing opportunities, expansion of our health clinic services and other creative and effective means to proactively address the growing issue of homelessness.
I remain committed to the belief that homelessness in our community is not a given. It is a problem that can and must be solved. It is our sacred obligation to solve it. I invite you to take a look at our 2015 results and encourage you to explore how you too can help us offer someone a new life without homelessness.
Be Father Joe.
Deacon Jim Vargas
President & CEO, Father Joe’s Villages