August 16 at 4:46pm

Media Alert: San Diego Homeless Awareness Day & ARS Bridge Housing Network 10-Year Celebration

ARSIn recognition of San Diego Homeless Awareness Day – August 17th, 2016 – Interfaith Community Services is calling attention to its efforts to end chronic homelessness, as well as sharing a client’s success story resulting from these efforts.

Unfortunately, homelessness is an issue that affects the entire San Diego region. County wide, there were nearly 8,700 homeless individuals in San Diego as of January 2016. While Interfaith served over 1,400 individuals through one of our diverse housing programs over the last year, 85% of whom successfully ended their homelessness, there are still hundreds in our community that need help getting a roof over their head.

One such example is Hal Wittner, a veteran who enjoyed a long and successful career in the Navy as a Data Processing Technician before retiring in 1996 following twenty years of service. After his retirement, Hal began to work in construction as a Land Surveyor; however five years into his new career, the 2008 stock market crash hit and he was laid off.

From there, Hal’s life began a downward spiral during which he turned to drugs for an escape from his reality. Living off of unemployment, he lost his home – forcing Hal to separate from his family and move into his car. With his sights set on regaining control over his life, Hal checked himself into a rehabilitation program and upon exit, connected with a case manager in Interfaith’s veteran department.

“Coming into Interfaith, I just changed my whole attitude and way of thinking,” said Hal. “I became a soft and caring soul again.”

Moving into one of Interfaith’s Oceanside veteran apartments, Hal began attending life skills classes, received employment assistance and remained active in his recovery. He began to save his money, was able to buy a new car and today, drives for ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft. Even more importantly, because of the incredible leaps and bounds he has made over the last year, Hal reunited with his wife and their three-year-old son.

“Interfaith has made a healing happen in my family,” said Hal. “My kid wakes up with two parents now – that’s amazing.”

To celebrate success stories like Hal’s, the Alliance for Regional Solutions, a collaborative of North County leaders and decision makers, is hosting a Bridge Housing Network 10-Year Celebration Event, recognizing 10 years of a collaborative system of emergency homeless shelter in North County.  The system, which used to be called the “Winter Shelter Network” is relaunching as a Bridge Housing Network, reflecting the goal of bridging each homeless individual and family off the streets and into their own homes, and to reflect the increasingly year-round nature of each coordinated shelter program.  Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Services, currently serves as the President of the Alliance for Regional Solutions.

Who: Alliance for Regional Solutions

What: Bridge Housing Network 10-Year Celebration

When: Thursday, August 18th, 2016, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Where: North County Lifeline, Sage Room – 200 Michigan Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

Photo, Video and Interview Opportunity: Interviews available with an Interfaith Veteran Housing Program resident who has overcome his homelessness. Executive Director, Greg Anglea, will be available to speak on the importance of San Diego Homeless Awareness Day, in addition to housing services to end homelessness. City of Escondido Mayor Sam Abed will also be in attendance.