United Way of San Diego County Launches San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network in Partnership with San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless
SAN DIEGO (Dec. 2, 2019) — With Giving Tuesday and the holidays right around the corner, San Diegans who want to lend a hand to help the region’s homeless population, but might not know how they can make a difference, have a new resource in the San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network (SDHVN). The online portal, which connects prospective volunteers with the homelessness-focused nonprofits where they could best be of service, was officially unveiled today in partnership between San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH), powered by United Way of San Diego County.
The goal of the SDHVN is to maximize the valuable human capital of volunteers in the effort to end homelessness by providing a centralized place where San Diegans can go to contribute their unique skills and talents, foster connections, and ensure their time is well spent to truly touch people’s lives.
“The San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network is something I have long advocated for, and I am honored to be a part of its development and launch,” says San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward. “Now more than ever before, we need to work to help our fellow San Diegans living on the street or in shelters. The San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network is an amazing resource that will no doubt drive meaningful impact. With help from our community volunteers, we can and will end homelessness in San Diego.”
According to data from the RTFH via the 2019 Point-In-Time Count survey, there are a minimum of 8,102 homeless individuals sleeping on the streets and living in shelters in San Diego County every night. Many in the region have called for more collaboration between nonprofits and government agencies providing services for the homeless population to accompany the massive increase in local government spending on homelessness.
“As San Diegans who see how homelessness affects our region every day, many of us want to volunteer our time and help, but we don’t know where to start,” says United Way of San Diego County President & CEO Nancy Sasaki. “United Way works in partnership with others to align goals and leverage resources and that’s why, along with Councilmember Ward, we developed the San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network. Homelessness in San Diego is a complex problem requiring all of us—nonprofits, government agencies, businesses, and citizens—to work together to transform lives.
The SDHVN allows visitors to browse through volunteer opportunities with vetted partner organizations. Clicking the “VOLUNTEER NOW” button takes users to a page that matches potential volunteers with activities and nonprofits that best suit their interests.
“While the causes and solutions to homelessness are complex, there is much that volunteers can do to help. Regardless of your skills, interests, age, or resources, there are ways you can make a difference. Volunteering your time to work directly with people experiencing homelessness is one of the best ways to learn about homelessness, and help to meet immediate needs at the same time. There are also a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work to be done at direct service agencies,” says Regional Task Force on the Homeless CEO Tamera Kohler. “Think about what you do best and the kind of setting in which you work most effectively, and you can find a matching opportunity to serve our homeless neighbors on United Way’s SDHVN site.”
For 99 years, United Way of San Diego County has aligned with partners to address inequities in the region and help underserved communities. United Way’s specialty lies in identifying sustainable, long-term goals and achieving them through leveraging data and partners’ expertise to better understand root causes and putting impactful solutions into action.
United Way’s work, in partnership with others, uses shared goals, innovation and proven practices to transform the lives of children, young adults and families in the San Diego region. United Way focuses on educational milestones, such as kindergarten readiness, third-grade literacy, high school preparation, and college and career pathways. Learn more and get involved by visiting www.uwsd.org, Facebook, Twitter, or by calling (858) 492-2000.