Thursday, September 19, 2013

N2N--Neighbor to Neighbor Bring Home to Homeless Persons

From The Pollination Project:

“Skid row would not exist if each community cared for its own members,” said Rebecca Prine, a social worker and founder of the volunteer run, grassroots organization, Recycled Resources for the Homeless in North Los Angeles, CA.  Rebecca is seeking to launch a new program, Neighbor to Neighbor (“N2N”) that places a solution to ending homelessness in the hands of the community.

Many times homeless individuals are labeled as transients, when many of them are not passing through a community, rather they are part of it.  In North LA, there are an estimated 280 chronically homeless individuals, most of whom were born in the area and want to remain there, but have no assistance in transitioning into housing.

The goal of the N2N project is to pair a housed neighbor to a homeless neighbor, similar to a buddy system, in order to develop the trust rapport and understanding that is needed to support someone while transitioning from living on the streets to securing and maintaining housing.  Rebecca has found that the most successful way to assist people in ending their homelessness is to have trust and confidence in the person who is assisting them, which is the backbone of the N2N program.

The N2N volunteers will participate in a 6-hour training and attend a one-day workshop that entails education surrounding homeless issues: outreach and engagement, safety, mental illness, substance use, and how to navigate resources.  After this training, volunteers are paired with a homeless individual, identified by Recycled Resources for the Homeless, to begin building a relationship with their ‘buddy’. The volunteer commits to visiting and engaging their ‘buddy’ a minimum of 2 x weekly, with the goal of developing a trusting relationship with them. Visits will include relationship building, socializing, offering clothing and other resources, and educating them on the process of securing housing. The volunteer also provides updates to RRH about any challenges or needs. Once the homeless individual secures housing their ‘buddy’ transitions with them and becomes a life skills coach to ensure housing can be maintained.

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