Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 4)
February 9, 2013 4 Comments
Earlier this week, I visited the OC Rescue Mission, which happens to be about a stone’s throw from my office.
As you know, I’ve been spending time with some homeless in our area (click here to see the rest of the stories about Dave, in order), and through this experience, have started to make myself familiar with available services.
The OC Rescue Mission is built on the site of the Tustin Marine Base, which has two gigantic hangers you’ve probably seen if you’ve been around Orange County (which, by the way, I’ve heard you can see from outer space; is that true?).
This is what I’m talking about … if you’ve been to Orange County, chances are you’ve seen them:
My hope is that Dave (and Joey, who I wrote about here), can gain admittance to the program. Dave is in the midst of waiting for his California ID (which will take 4-6 weeks), so I’m praying that there is some divine intervention and it gets here more quickly, as the folks at OCRM indicate there are openings.
I met with Kristin Bruce, an energetic, helpful, and visibly passionate representative of OCRM. She has been uber helpful, answering my calls, emails, and requests for information on how to equip Dave and others to take advantage of the services they offer.
To help me understand what they do, she took time out of her day to show me around the campus. I’m seriously impressed.
As we walked into the courtyard, she explained that the location has 192 beds (formerly marine barracks), and that they serve homeless men, women, and families with kids. I believe they opened sometime in 2008.
As Kristin led me on the tour, I made a mental note of the following things Dave and Joey would be able to benefit from, including:
- A positive and clean environment: Everyone I met was positive, and seemed to enjoy their work and mission. All the residents seemed thankful for the opportunity to be there, and things seemed to be well run.
- Spiritual and personal development: Kristin showed me a chapel and auditorium used by residents (which they call “students”) to grow spiritually and socially through different activities, like concerts, workshops, worship, and wholesome entertainment.
- Case management and counseling services: When you join OCRM, you are assigned a case manager, who is responsible for working to determine a your needs, define what services are most helpful, monitor treatment plans and outcomes, and provide a nurturing, relational context for guidance and assistance. They also provide therapy sessions to help people with their emotional state.
- Medical and dental care: This was amazing. The 6,000 square-foot health facility offers primary and preventative care services to residents, as well as to poor and homeless in the county. There are doctors and nurses on staff, meaning they’ll serve people even if they’re not residents. I’ve already told Dave about this, as he thinks he might be getting a cold.
- Workforce development and computer training: This is a very important part of getting people back on their feet: equipping students to learn necessary skills to get a job. They teach people how to apply, interview, and gain the skills necessary for a job in today’s work force. They also have partnerships with many local companies that they can leverage to place people in jobs that might otherwise be difficult for them to acquire.
- Food service and dining: Kristin offered me lunch in the dining hall, which was buzzing with activity and conversation. It was great to see both staff and students eating together. She introduced me to a few staff, all who were very helpful and I appreciated them taking time out of their lunch to speak with me.
- Child development center: Kristin led me through a 6,000 square foot Child Development Center, which was a beautiful and very creative on-site after school tutoring program for school age children. She also showed me a cool nap room, which I jokingly asked if I could use.
- Transportation services: Residents are assisted with transportation vouchers or van service as needed to reach community based services. They seem to do everything in their power to help the residents get back on their feet.
- Recreation: I saw two basketball courts, a gym, a children’s playground area, and a large community garden. They also have a farm area with some animals!
Kristin said it was OK to take pictures, so I’ve included some snapshots of the facility, as well as some added descriptions beneath each photo. Click to enjoy!