Palm Springs, CA
Well in the Desert’s cooling / drop in center opened in July despite opposition from some local business owners who claimed it would make the homeless problem in Downtown Palm Springs worse. But Council member Geoff Kors, who also sits on the Homeless Task Force says the center has had a positive impact on the community.
The center says their strict rules and outreach are making a difference, "Cause we do random security checks and anybody we see on property while we’re here on property two hours before and two hours after we make sure nobody ‘s anywhere," says Bryan Johnson, an outreach manager.
Just five months ago the non profit was desperate to find a permanent place where they could carry on homeless services they have been providing for 20 years, but some said in the past they had not been good neighbors. But Kors says businesses around there now say they have gone from many homeless using their bathrooms and loitering to nearly none.
The center says they tell those they service what’s at stake, "This is a blessing that we have right here it’s not a for sure thing if we can’t comply and you can’t comply and help us we’re not going to be able to hold this spot."
There homeless people can come connect with other services, get a shower a morning snack, a cup of coffee and a clean set of clothes.
Dennis Johnson, a volunteer, remembers what it’s like to be homeless, h says places like these are a godsend, "I know it’s kind of hard out there on the streets and nowhere to go, no food so well in the desert is a blessing."
But they are still in need of things like toiletries, socks, warm clothes, supplies to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and volunteers.
"Come on it doesn’t hurt, you know I come and spend some time and help out … they’ve helped me out more than I’ve helped them," says Steve Harris.
Dennis says everyone can afford to give something even if it’s just a smile, "That’ll put a smile on their face knowing that people do care."