Claremont COURIER/Friday, June 14, 2013

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COURIER photos/Steven Felschundneff SUMMER TO END HOMELESSNESS continued from the next page

For now, they are taking matters into their own hands. Mr. Wood, who has helped a few homeless individuals find permanent housing in the past, has modeled the Summer to End Homelessness project after his own experience—taking into account his successes and steering away from the learned pitfalls. Such as establishing volunteers as “advocates.” “I found if I called myself ‘a friend,’

Paul Wood leads a workshop for potential homeless advocates on Saturday at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Claremont. The event was part of a larger effort called the Summer to End Homelessness.

I was told to go away,” he explained. “If I introduced myself as a person’s advocate, I was taken seriously.” There is also the challenge of navigating agencies in order to obtain sustainable housing and needed services.

There can be a lot of paperwork and procedure, Mr. Wood noted. And some cases can be more challenging than others, like when an individual does not have identification or even a birth certificate. “Every time I went through the process it was different,” Mr. Wood said. “You learn something new every time.” CHAP’s core team will be available to assist volunteers, who will be paired up in teams of 2, should they need the help. Within the next few weeks, Mr. Hilgert and Mr. Mohr will be stepping in to seek out homeless individuals looking for guidance. By the end of the

summer, volunteers hope to at least have begun taking a more active step towards helping those that need it. “We realize you can’t just wave a wand and end all homelessness, but we can certainly end it for certain individuals seeking the help,” Mr. Wood said. For more information on the Summer to End Homelessness campaign or for details on how to get involved, contact Paul Wood at paul_f_wood@yahoo.com or Mary Cooper at maryclaremont@aol.com.
—Beth Hartnett news@claremont-courier.com