Why did Trellis create this position?
I started with Trellis in June of 2017. Prior to coming to Trellis I was a
minister at the Costa Mesa Church of Christ for five years. The church
has been serving the homeless a meal every Tuesday for the last 34
years. It is here I felt called to serve the homeless and give them a hand
up to help them move forward. My desire was to do more than just
give them a meal. I felt we needed to invest in them in order for change
to take place. We wanted them to get healthy physically, mentally,
emotionally and spiritually and for this to take place you have to give
them more than just food. Trellis was in need of someone to take the
lead with their homeless initiative. I had served with Trellis in my efforts
with the church and it seem to be a natural fit for me and Trellis.
What exactly do you do?
I work with the churches in Costa Mesa, city officials, the Network for
Homeless Solutions, other non-profits and volunteers to help end
homelessness in Costa Mesa.
As the minister of homelessness for Trellis I oversee our programs to
bring the churches in Costa Mesa together to help solve the homeless
issue in Costa Mesa. We have Life on the Streets, (LOTS) which
provides a meal, recovery 12 step program, showers, laundry and the
CHECK In Center (CIC) where the homeless can store their belongings
in bins and kept safe. We also have our Community Impact Team (CIT)
which seeks to get business sponsors and individuals to invest in our
homeless to do projects for businesses for the city. It is a volunteer
program where the homeless are given gift cards for their service. Our
CIT teams have cleaned churches, painted rooms, landscaping,
packing and moving companies, cleaned restaurants and many other
projects. We give them life skills and work skills, resume classes, job
interview skills, list of resources each Saturday. I also oversee our
Reconnection ministry where we reconnect those out on the streets
back to their families and support groups where they will no longer be
on the streets. We will pay for bus, plane or train tickets to reconnect
them. We have in just the last three months connected people to New York,
Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma, Santa Maria, Ohio, Tennessee and
Mississippi. We also have an e-commerce program in that we train the
homeless to market, price, sell items on Craigslist where they learn to
be entrepreneurs and become independent.
What have been some of your successes and challenges?
I think the successes we have had at Trellis is the reconnections and
the relationships we have created with the homeless and with the city
officials of Costa Mesa. I love supporting and working collaboratively
with Muriel Ullman, Doreen, Stacey, Stephanie, and Ameerah, These
ladies work so hard and are so supportive of Trellis and myself. They
are a joy to work with.
The biggest challenge has been the change in the demographics of our
homeless in Costa Mesa over the last five years. I could be wrong but
we have a younger, more resistant and addictive homeless population.
They are not “done,” meaning they are resistant to help and still heavy in
their addiction. It breaks my heart that they are stuck where they are in
their heart and thinking and unable or unwilling to change. The other
big challenge is for me personally is to not to lose heart, to keep loving
and serving even when those you are trying to help don’t want it.
What do you see your role being in the future?
My vision is that Bill Nelson and I will be doing world tours with our Rock
band called the Love Shack. just kidding. To be honest I do not have a five year vision or plan. I am taking one day at a time, trying to serve those put in front of me and I believe God will open doors to where I need to be. (I know not a great plan for success or to plan your future.) But I never thought I would be serving
the homeless full time and trusting God would provide for me to do
this. I pray Trellis is going strong, we are making a difference in the City of
Costa Mesa, our homeless population is non existent because we have
built a Living Center for the homeless for Permanent Supportive
Housing and Transitional housing. It will have social services, mental
health services, family services, job training and placement and it is a
blessing to those living there and to the city of Costa Mesa.
If this doesn't work out I will run for President.