Help Of All Kinds Given To People Who Are Homeless In Chula Vista
San Diego has the fourth highest amount of people who are homeless in the U.S. according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the second largest city in San Diego County has much of the same situation to deal with.
KPBS News found a grassroots effort to improve the situation in Chula Vista.
Tents filled the hot asphalt parking lot of the Westside Community Church on Friday, sheltering volunteers helping clients who are homeless, though unsheltered is the preferred term here.
Rosy Vasquez was running everything here. Vasquez founded her South Bay non-profit, Community Through Hope, 11-years ago.
"We roam around the city of Chula Vista and the south bay to try and hit all the different areas that are being impacted," Vasquez said.
Over the years, she’s drawn many supporters to her cause. And here they were in this parking lot, providing all sorts of help to people who desperately need it.
Everything from clothing to food, books, help with finding a job, dental services, testing for HIV.
And there was something you might not expect. A group called Think Dignity provided showers.
"It’s the only time they get to take a shower. It’s the only time anyone engages with them, gives them a little bit of dignity," Ashley Hiney said.
Hiney runs the non-profit group Helping Hands which provides toiletries and underwear to those in need.
In addition to providing needed services, there was something else going on here, affirmation and love.
They're where they’re comfortable... they can socialize with their friends and most importantly see that the community cares," Vasquez said.
One of Vasquez's former clients, Mary Foster, was here as well. Foster is now a volunteer with Community Through Hope.
"I’m just blessed today that I’m a different person and I got a job, getting my apartment, you know that I have people that cares and loves me... It does make me feel good that I can go out there and tell somebody where I was at," Foster said.
When we think of people who are homeless, the unsheltered, Chula Vista doesn’t usually come to mind.
But there are plenty of people in the county’s second largest city that need help and because of the volunteers here, they’re getting it.