Volunteers dedicate over 900 hours to Weekend of Service


Interfaith thanks all the volunteers that participated in this year’s Weekend of Service, held from April 24th-26th!  This Weekend of Service, 208 volunteers completed over 900 service hours with projects benefitting a variety of Interfaith Community Services’ programs, ranging from our men’s and women’s shelters, to family, seniors, and veterans housing facilities; improvements were also made to our Betty and Melvin Cohn headquarters in Escondido.

The Weekend of Service began in 2007 and has been held approximately every year and a half since.  Developed by North Coast Church, projects have been dedicated to improving nearly every program or service of Interfaith, ranging from landscaping, replacing windows, trash pick-ups, re-painting, and even upgrading barbeques at a handful of housing units.

This year, the Men’s Shelter in Escondido received a drastic backyard overhaul, complete with the removal of dead brush, planting of numerous new flowers and plants, and the spreading of mulch throughout the yard.  Corinne’s Cottage, one of our women’s shelters, also received a complete backyard overhaul.  A tree was removed in one of the parking areas, a hydroponic garden was built from scratch, flowers and bushes were planted, pathway steps were repaired and replaced, and benches scattered throughout the yard were stained and repainted.

Several of our Family and Senior Housing units were also upgraded during this Weekend of Service.  In several of the apartments, the carpet was replaced with wood flooring, paint touch-ups were done throughout the units, and trees surrounding the apartments were trimmed.  In addition, volunteers also helped improve our Veterans Housing units by touching up their painting and replacing the fascia boards on the carports in the parking lots.

As if they weren’t busy enough, volunteers also helped to upgrade our Betty and Melvin Cohn Center headquarters in Escondido!  By deep-cleaning our carpets and repainting our parking lot, they definitely made an impact on the cleanliness and appearance of our most highly-trafficked service center.

Interfaith Community Services thanks all of our volunteers that graciously donated their time and efforts during this Weekend of Service.  If you are interested in ways you can get involved and volunteer with Interfaith please click here or contact Chelsea Buck, Volunteer and Donor Relations Manager, at cbuck@interfaithservices.org.

Local veteran excels in Recuperative Care Program

Vincent RCP

Home to one of the largest veteran populations in the country, Interfaith provides a wide range of specialized programs and services to our nation’s heroes in San Diego County. Nearly five years ago, Interfaith identified a lack of services for homeless veterans leaving the hospital post-operation; with nowhere to recover from surgery but the streets, many never fully healed from their hospital stays.

After identifying this need, Interfaith began its Recuperative Care Program, providing emergency housing and support to veterans recovering from an illness or injury.  Since its beginning in 2010, the program has supported and served more than 200 veterans, with 71% of participants successfully exiting by obtaining permanent housing and achieving stability.

This week, Interfaith sat down with Vincent, a graduate of the Recuperative Care Program, to hear his story and learn about his experience with the program.

Born just outside of Pensacola, Florida, Vincent served in the Army for three years, spending most of his time in Germany as a missile crewman.  Returning to Florida after deployment, he became the head painter for a defense contractor; unfortunately, he was laid off a few months later.  “I got behind on my bills,” said Vincent, “and I couldn’t keep up.  I needed help and had heard about the veteran services in San Diego; I just got on the bus and came here.”

Vincent arrived in San Diego with $1,000 to his name.  He lived in a hotel while deciding his next move and once his money ran out, he became homeless.  After a month on the streets, Vincent went to the VA, who referred him to the Recuperative Care Program.

“I just couldn’t see myself on the streets anymore,” said Vincent. “I decided it was time to change and the VA and Interfaith were both there to help me out.”

Vincent spent five months in the program – attending counseling sessions, adapting a regular medication schedule, and making friends with other program participants.

“When I came here to the Recuperative Care Program, I thought to myself ‘I can do this,’ and then things just started getting better,” said Vincent.

Today, Vincent is proud to report that he graduated from Recuperative Care in March 2013 and lives in his own apartment in Escondido.  He remains friends with those he met in the program and looks forward to volunteering with Interfaith, giving back to the organization he says has given him a second lease of life.

“This program has helped me immensely,” said Vincent.  “I am so thankful for all the help everyone has given me.  Everything just came together and at the same time – I couldn’t ask for more.”

Interfaith Community Services is currently building a new home for its Recuperative Care Program, to be named the Veteran and Family Resource Center.  Upon its completion, the 10,000 square foot facility, located at 250 N. Ash St., will enhance Interfaith’s ability to achieve its mission of Helping People Help Themselves. For information on how you can contribute to this project, either with monetary gifts or in-kind donations, please contact Interfaith’s Chief Development Officer Robert Adams at radams@interfaithservices.org or by calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.

25 Cities San Diego – North County wraps first 100 days


25cities25 Cities North San Diego County, Setting a Path to ZERO – the local arm of a federal initiative and national campaign dovetailing efforts to end veteran and chronic homelessness – today announced the results of the initiative’s first 100 days in action within the North County region.

“While we’re thrilled by the progress we’ve made thus far, there is still a lot of work to be done to end homelessness in the North County Region,” said Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Services and President-Elect of the Alliance for Regional Solutions.

25 Cities launched in North San Diego County in January 2015 with two goals for the first 100 days in mind: 1) build a Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement (CAHP) System that best addresses homelessness and 2) make an immediate impact on the community by placing individuals and families experiencing homelessness into their own housing.

At the conclusion of the first 100 days in North San Diego County, Anglea says the group has exceeded expectations, assessing 323 homeless individuals experiencing homelessness, connecting 123 individuals to housing resources, and managing to find permanent housing for 21 individuals; the group originally aimed to asses 250 individuals and connect 107 to housing resources. Of those assessed, 27% individuals were veterans, 19% were seniors, and 63% were classified as chronically homeless.

While the group is proud of their accomplishments, they note that the 21 individuals housed falls short of their original goal of permanently housing 40 individuals or families – something Anglea attributes to a shortage of rental properties.

“The first 100 days of the 25 Cities initiative revealed critical gaps in the CAHP system in North County,” said Anglea. “A shortage in participating rental properties kept us from housing the number of individuals and families we had hoped. We have the resources to move individuals into their own homes, but we do not have enough homes to move them into.”

The Alliance for Regional Solutions (ARS) – a coalition of North San Diego County social service agencies, municipalities, the county, United Way of San Diego County, educational entities, healthcare providers, other agencies and philanthropic bodies – is managing the initiative with help from 25 Cities’ additional public and private partners. Interfaith Community Services leads on-the-ground efforts to establish a coordinated path to ending the cycle of homelessness in North County and serves as the fiscal agent for the Alliance for Regional Solutions. Key public partners in this initiative also include the Department of Veterans Affairs, County of San Diego, as well as all nine North County municipalities.

25 Cities San Diego initially launched downtown in June 2014.   As a result of the initiative’s initial success, in November 2014 San Diego was selected, along with 68 other U.S. communities, to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness. Since then, the efforts have been working in tandem, both in San Diego and North San Diego County, and the initiative has been renamed 25 Cities San Diego, Setting a Path to ZERO.

The complete results of 25 Cities efforts in North San Diego County will be revealed at the 100 Day Celebration Event on May 20th, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at North Coast Church, 1451 Montiel Road, Escondido, CA 92026. For more information and to R.S.V.P. for this event, please contact Megan Dunn, Project Manager – 25 Cities North County, at mdunn@interfaithservices.org or (619) 818-1242.

For more information on 25 Cities San Diego’s North County efforts, please click here.

Support our local students: Adopt-a-Scholar today


TYAgraduation copySupport the Transitional Youth Academy’s graduating class of 2015!

The Transitional Youth Academy supports vulnerable and low-income youth by providing intensive mentoring, leadership development and career training to empower students to successfully graduate high school and achieve college enrollment.

TYA students have overcome unimaginable barriers to turn their lives around and successfully begin their college careers. While graduation is an exciting time, it can also be stressful due to the additional costs associated with the ceremony and related celebratory activities. With your support, we can celebrate the determination of these low-income and at-risk students by providing them with graduation expenses that other students often take for granted.  Your donation will also help us support our Transitional Youth Academy students in beginning their careers by supporting transportation and clothing expenses with their summer internships!

By donating to the Adopt-A-Scholar program, your contribution will help students offset costs such as:

Cap and Gown Rental

Graduation Night Attendance


Summer Internship Transportation

Career-Appropriate Clothing

Please consider a gift of any amount to send our 2015 TYA students from Oceanside and El Camino High School off to college ready to succeed! There are a few ways you can give today:

  • Donate online at interfaithservices.org and specify ‘Adopt-A-Scholar’ in the details about your gift
  • Mail your donation, specifying ‘Adopt-A-Scholar’ in the check memo, to 550 W. Washington Ave, Escondido, CA 92025

For more information on the Adopt-A-Scholar program, please contact Amber Rizkalla, Transitional Youth Academy Director, at arizkalla@interfaithservices.org.

Client Success Story: Linda, Clearly Clean Janitorial

Linda CSS haircut

Linda receives a haircut from an Interfaith volunteer


For more than six years, Clearly Clean Janitorial has provided high quality business janitorial services to its customers, while maintaining a supportive work-training environment for clients of Interfaith Community Services. Clearly Clean employs veterans, non-veterans, and clients who may have mental or physical disabilities, or face other barriers to employment.

Linda, a new addition to the crew, began working for Clearly Clean Janitorial in March 2015 after learning about the opportunity while staying in the Haven House Emergency Winter Shelter, a 40-bed shelter on-site at Interfaith’s Escondido headquarters. While in Haven House, Linda began volunteering in the kitchen and nutrition center during her free time; she served drinks during the morning and evening meals, helped prep the food, and stocked the utensils and condiments. During one such occasion, Linda was approached by a Clearly Clean employee who said she was impressed by her work ethic and encouraged her to apply for a job; a week later, Linda clocked in for her first day.

“Interfaith fed me, clothed me, gave me showers, and then gave me a job,” said Linda. “I couldn’t ask for a better outlook on life now.”

An Oceanside native, Linda now lives in Escondido and in addition to her job with Clearly Clean, also works as a housekeeper part-time. After 10 years of living on the street, she says her “whole life has changed thanks to Interfaith.”

“I enjoy my job, I enjoy the people that I work with,” said Linda. “I feel like this is a fairy tale; I just can’t believe after being down for so long that this is my life.”

All fees collected from the Clearly Clean Janitorial Services program are utilized to pay a salary to the crew, provide them with training, as well as cover the cost of supplies and equipment to grow the program.

Interfaith Community Services is now looking for additional businesses in North County San Diego to contract out Clearly Clean Janitorial services to! To learn more about the program and how your business can get involved, please contact Accursio Scalia, Site Supervisor, at ascalia@interfaithservices.org.