Update from the Shelter Network
May 30, 2020
One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic is the Village House Women’s Shelter. On March 17 the shelter closed in response to the impending crisis. The rotating shelter, staffed by large numbers of volunteers from the 20 partner churches, was forced to close for the safety of our volunteers and our women guests.
The ten women who were shelter residents at the time, were moved by Village House to a hotel in downtown San Jose. During the next three weeks, case managers Libby Echeverria and Alicia Morales worked with County health officials to find the women alternative housing in other shelters and hotels.
We are indebted to their dedication and compassion during this stressful, chaotic time! Through their efforts none of the women were forced back onto the street during this difficult time.
Village House has suspended its operation indefinitely. All of its churches depended on a significant number of older volunteers as the backbone of its shelter operation. This was clearly not sustainable during the current health emergency.
While it is doubtful of Village House resuming operations in 2020, the partner churches are continuing in dialogue. The churches see the collaborative and ecumenical five-year effort valuable in of itself and hope to explore more such projects in the future.
The Village House rotating shelter for homeless women will begin its fifth year here at Holy Spirit. The Shelter offers a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to live out Christ’s message of serving our homeless neighbors through love and compassion! The Episcopal Church of Almaden will operate a warming center during the daytime hours. The Holy Spirit evening shelter will operate from 7:00pm–7:00am, seven days per week, from January 3rd–February 3rd.
Holy Spirit is part of a shelter network started in 2016 that hosts 15 women who were homeless on the streets of San Jose. The shelter network has since grown to a dozen overnight shelters and day centers. The members are diverse in faith traditions – Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Evangelical. There will be opportunities to help with serving meals, intake and registration, laundry, overnight supervision, and transportation. Please visit www.villagehousesccca.com for more information and opportunities to help.
The Diocese of San Jose requires screening for volunteers, over the age of 18, who will serve at the Village House in close contact with our guests: all overnight, intake, and drivers are required to be both fingerprinted and complete an online safety course for vulnerable adults. Volunteers will be prompted to visit the website at www.verifygroup.com for fingerprint clearance and www.virtusonline.org to take PGC and Vulnerable Adults when signing up for one of the Tier 1 positions. Fingerprints must only be done once and the training is good for 3 years.
Holy Spirit Contacts:
Shelter Director: Mike Ferrero – (408) 799-2038
Fingerprinting and safe environment: Katie Metzger – (408) 997-5115
Intake and Guest Services: Christine Burroughs – (408) 221-0309
Guest Issues: Caseworker Tara O’Reilly – (408) 520-0055
Overnights and Set up: Bob Fields – (408) 250-3381
Medical Support: Jeff Aboud – (408) 421-3723
Laundry Services: Nathalie Goricanec – (408) 646-6289
Breakfasts: June Ferrero (408) 997-3165 and Rosalie Marty (408) 623-6140
Lunches: Time & Sondra Gill (408) 202-8670
Dinners: Teresa McCarthy – (408) 623-8125
Transportation: John McCarthy (408) 386-7457 or Mike Reardon (408) 386-2398
Facilities: Renee Sneed – (408) 997-5105