How can we prevent homelessness?

There are many methods in which together, as a society, we can prevent people from ever having to experience homelessness.

First, we can work to create a more equitable society where some groups of people do not experience extreme levels of poverty and all people have access to housing they can afford and job opportunities with adequate pay. 

This enables families and individuals to be able to fund the housing, food, and other basic necessities they need to survive, as well as additional room in the budget to save for emergencies.

Secondly, we can create a safety net for individuals and families who do find themselves at risk of homelessness by providing temporary support through diversion, financial assistance, counseling or other services that prevent individuals and families from entering into homelessness

Preventing Homelessness Once Individual/Family Falls into Risk of Homelessness

Homeless Prevention

As evident in the name, homeless prevention works with people before they lose housing.

It is an approach to solving possible homelessness by empowering a person to identify safe, immediate, and appropriate alternatives to entering the homeless services system, such as shelters. 

An organization helping with diversion will work alongside a person or to family brainstorm possible solutions to the issue(s) threatening their housing stability, with an emphasis on trusting the person to be an expert in their own solution as they regain control over their housing crisis.

Homeless Prevention strategies range from connecting a neighbor to rental support available in the community, helping a neighbor apply for social support like disability, medicare, or food stamps to help them meet their budgetary needs, or helping them connect with family or friends who can provide them a place to stay while they back on their feet.

Sometimes an organization works with a landlord to ensure that a neighbor can stay where they are currently residing, to work through any issues that could result in eviction, or organize a payment plan for repayment of missed rent. 

The organization can then act as a mediator to develop a resolution that will allow the household to stay in their current housing. The goal of diversion is the lightest touch possible so community resources are available to those who need them most.

Homeless prevention is often a preferable approach to immediately placing someone in a shelter because it can be more cost-effective, it can ensure necessary shelter beds are available for those who need them most, but most of all, it prevents an individual or family from experiencing the trauma of homelessness.

Employment & Education Services

Job readiness training and job-seeking support offered to people at risk of homelessness can help neighbors achieve higher wages and higher quality jobs.

When a person is working one or two minimum wage jobs, they often have little leftover in the monthly budget (after rent, food, utilities) for emergencies or rental increases. 

That’s why employment services can be a critical tool for helping people compete in the modern job market and obtain jobs that pay above minimum wage.

People experiencing poverty and homelessness can encounter a number of factors that can prevent them from gaining quality employment including ​​limited education and skills, varied job histories, misplaced legal documents, limited access to transportation, cosmetic difficulties, such as missing teeth, and physical and behavioral health conditions.

According to San Diego’s Point-in-Time count report (2018), 30% of individuals polled reported a loss of job as the primary cause of homelessness.  

Through hands-on training, education, and job development, employment programs, such as Father Joe’s Villages Employment & Education Center, foster empowerment and provide tools for facing the complicated, competitive world of employment.

Preventing Homelessness by Creating Housing

There are thousands of organizations across the world implementing solutions to alleviate poverty and inequality.

At Father Joe’s Villages, we help to reduce and prevent extreme poverty by working to expand affordable and supportive housing opportunities in our community.

Affordable Housing

Housing becomes less affordable when the housing supply cannot keep up with the demand for housing in a region.

When housing becomes less affordable, the budgets of low-income families and individuals are squeezed, leaving little room for anything but survival. In fact, half of all San Diego homeowners don’t make enough money to meet the region’s cost of living, with 60% of local renters falling short by thousands of dollars per year.  

By building more affordable housing in the community, organizations help to reduce the pressure on low-income neighbors and provide more affordable options for those that need it most.

Affordable housing enables folks to maintain housing long-term because the housing stays within a price range that is proportional to their income bracket.

Through the Turning the Key initiative, Father Joe’s Villages committed to adding 2,000 units of affordable housing dedicated to neighbors overcoming homelessness, on top of the over 400 affordable units already offered by the organization. Learn more here.

Supportive Housing

Supportive Housing, sometimes referred to as Permanent Supportive Housing, is housing that is reserved for people with a physical disability, mental illness or long-term substance use disorder who need regular support to maintain housing stability. 

While Supportive Housing is provided to people who have been homeless, this type of program prevents ongoing and future homelessness for at-risk individuals with a history of chronic homelessness.

Residents of supportive housing communities receive a long-term rental subsidy that is sensitive to their income and ongoing support services to help them maintain their housing. 

At Father Joe’s Villages, for example, Case Managers help clients set and achieve goals and get connected to resources, while Tenant Services Coordinators teach life skills and host social activities that build community.

A Registered Nurse provides wound care, patient education, and medication management. 

Supportive housing is a compassionate and dignified solution to homelessness for people who would otherwise struggle to maintain housing on their own. Often, supportive housing is the best solution for addressing or preventing chronic homelessness amongst people with severe mental illness and debilitating disabilities.

However, communities often don’t have the resources to provide supportive housing to all the individuals who may benefit from it.

For that reason, building and raising funding for new supportive housing communities can be critical for preventing homelessness for people most in need.

In Conclusion

Homelessness prevention programs and associated initiatives are often a cost-effective and compassionate approach to preventing individuals and families from living without shelter on the streets and entering into the cycle of homelessness.

One of our favorite days of the year is rapidly approaching.

On August 17, 2021, we will celebrate National Thrift Store Day at all of our San Diego locations: Hillcrest, Imperial Beach, and El Cajon.

What is National Thrift Store Day?

National Thrift Store Day, sometimes called National Thrift Shop Day or National Charity Shop Day, takes place every year and shines a light on the wide variety of secondhand stores.

Most secondhand stores (like Father Joe’s Villages’) are crucial fundraising pipelines for charities. They are not consignment shops or for-profit resale shops. National Thrift Store Day celebrates thrift stores that benefit charities that make a difference in their communities

It’s a great day to find amazing vintage clothing, necessary household items, and hidden treasures while supporting a great cause. 100% of the revenue received from donated items goes toward transforming the lives of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in San Diego.

Through your donations of goods or thrift store purchases, for example, Father Joe’s Villages can fund the pillars of care for our organization:

  • meeting basic needs through housing, meals, and our Daycenter
  • investing in children’s futures with therapeutic childcare services for families experiencing homelessness
  • making health a priority through provided medical, dental, and behavioral health care
  • strengthening self-sufficiency through employment, education, chaplaincy, and vocational training

With convenient parking and great deals, we hope to see you out celebrating National Thrift Store Day with us at Father Joe’s Villages.

Why we should celebrate thrift stores on National Thrift Store Day

  1. Eco-Friendly
  2. Allow you to get great deals
  3. Support a great cause

What to shop for on National Thrift Store Day at Father Joe’s Villages

One of the best things about shopping at a thrift store is finding incredible deals on high-quality items. Our thrift stores are not junk shops; they are places where you can employ smart shopping techniques and earth-friendly values to find the best value around.

Brand New Items

While 100% of Father Joe’s Villages stock comes from donated, previously-owned goods, not all items are used. We often receive donations of brand new items, items with tags, or items donated directly from a retailer. As a result, our stock depends entirely on recent donations.The best way to see what’s in store is to visit the locations in El Cajon, Hillcrest, and Imperial Beach.

Furniture & Home Decor

We have almost new and lightly used furniture that will help you finally finish decorating your home. We have kitchen appliances, supplies, decor, books, music, and entertainment devices. The stock changes regularly, and new items are placed on the floor daily.

Vintage Goods

If you are searching for particular vintage items, we recommend checking out our online specialty auction. Our Specialty Auction gives buyers the opportunity to bid on unique and uncommon goods, such as valuable artwork, classic antiques, vintage fashion, cars, and special collectibles.

Other ways to help Father Joe’s Villages on National Thrift store day

If visiting one of our retail establishments isn’t in the cards for you on the 17th, there are still so many other ways to partner with Father Joe’s Villages to help end homelessness in San Diego:

As we discuss National Thrift Store Day, it’s worth reiterating that we run our stores entirely on donations. If you have new or gently-used items that you no longer need, we would be happy to accept them and provide you with a tax receipt to write off on next year’s filing.

All donations are sold as-is, so they must be clean and in good condition. When we receive an item that cannot be sold in our stores or easily recycled, we have to pay for disposal. This means that fewer funds go towards helping our neighbors in need.

Here is a non-comprehensive list of items that we accept:

  • Clothing: Virtually all types of clean, gently-used clothing and shoes, including women’s, men’s, kid’s, children’s, baby’s dresses, shirts, pants, skirts, shorts, sandals, tennis shoes, sneakers, heels, flats, boots and more.
  • Household Items: Small appliances in working condition (microwaves, blenders, toasters, etc), dishes, glasses, silverware, bedding, linens, pillows, rugs, comforters, home decor, baby items (see restrictions below), art and frames.
  • Jewelry: Virtually all types of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
  • Accessories: Virtually all types of accessories, including purses, bags, belts, ties and wallets.
  • Furniture: Any furniture that can be carried by no more than two people, including couches, love seats, armchairs, chairs, dining room sets, tables, coffee tables, mirrors, nightstands, headboards, office chairs, non-wooden desks, dressers and more. See restrictions below.
  • Electronics: Stereos, radios, LED, flat panel & plasma televisions, video game consoles, computers (laptops, monitors, hard drives, etc), tablets, phones, typewriters, cameras and other electronics.
  • Entertainment: Books & textbooks, toys (stuffed animals, dolls, action figures, etc), sports equipment, board games, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records.
  • Other: Camping gear, sporting goods, estate goods, tools, collectibles, luggage, bikes, musical instruments, and MORE!

Read more about donating goods and how to schedule a pick up or drop off.

Charitable donations are the easiest way to get started with Father Joe’s Villages.

Just $13 pays for one night of emergency shelter, $27 funds a full day of Therapeutic Childcare for a child experiencing homelessness, and $105 provides one month of food for a neighbor in need.

No amount is too small to start tangibly helping your neighbors and, often, your company may provide a matching gift program. An added benefit is that financial donations are tax-deductible!


Giving time is just as important as providing physical goods or fiscal support. Volunteering is easy and rewarding!

Volunteers can utilize their talents in various programs, including preparing and serving meals, tutoring kids, doing maintenance/beautification projects, and much, much more.

We accept all types of volunteers and volunteer groups: individuals, families, children over ten years old, religious organizations, community groups, military groups, corporations, local businesses, and more.

Read more about opportunities to volunteer.

Get involved with Father Joe’s Villages for National Thrift Store Day

Helping those in need in the San Diego area is as easy as stopping by one of our stores. We hope to see you out and celebrating National Thrift Store Day with us on the 17th!