Paul Bains-Project WeHope
I went to visit the Project WeHope facilities last week and was blown away by what Pastor Paul Bains and his staff are doing. It's no surprise to me that this organization won Nonprofit of the year award from the state of California last year.
Paul and his wife, Cheryl, have always had a heart for the homeless and vulnerable in their community. Paul says his parents passed on the desire to give back and help others to all of their children. Growing up, there always seemed to be a different person in need on his parents’ couch when he’d wake up.
"I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." Matthew 25:43
One day, while walking around his office in East Palo Alto, he noticed a pillow and a sleeping bag right outside his doorstep. At this point, he started to recognize the need for a homeless shelter in his neighborhood. Throughout the last decade, Paul and his team have transformed a warehouse into an emergency 55 bed shelter that offers showers, washing machines, computers, and 2 hot meals each day. In addition to those services, the shelter aims to help homeless individuals and families in rebuilding their lives through a systemic approach that includes housing and health services, on-site financial education, job training, life skills classes, and recovery programs. Project WeHope offers three main programs to homeless and at risk individuals:
1. Transitional/Supportive Housing Program-a 120-day program that is intended to deal with the systemic issues related to homelessness.
2. Dignity on Wheels Mobile Hygiene Outreach Program-a mobile hygiene outreach program that provides free showers and laundry service for the homeless living in encampments, rotating shelters, in their vehicles or other temporary spaces where they do not have access to such amenities. DOW has provided 10,000 showers in a 16 month period.
3. H.O.P.E. Jobs- a program that offers free certification courses to become a Security Guard or Custodial Technician. Each individual who successfully receives a certificate of completion for either class is able to apply for hundreds of qualified jobs throughout California.
Paul challenges us to think of ways to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable around us. It's a reminder of the challenge that Jesus set before us. To get involved in their efforts, click here.