The “Focus” Secure Parking Program was created by a collaboration of the City of Morgan Hill, Morgan Hill Police Department, Santa Clara County, Morgan Hill Unified School District, and Gilroy Compassion Center. The site is located at the Morgan Hill Bible Church on Monterey Road in Morgan Hill. The program provides homeless families with a safe place to spend the night, access to showers, laundry, toilets and meals.
One of the keys to the success of the program is the support of a dedicated social worker. The social worker meets with the families and helps put them in touch with local organizations that can help them in their search for housing and employment.
The South County Interfaith Community, a group of 18 faith-based organizations in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin, is committed to building caring communities through education, as well as social programs and services.
Since the inception of the Focus Safe Park program, members of the interfaith community have hosted Friday night dinners for families. Regular email messages from Morgan Hill and the Gilroy Compassion Center inform ICSC members of additional opportunities to support families.
For example, things like books, toys and games for children and adults, fresh fruit, water and diapers are often needed.
Prior to the Covid-19 restrictions, volunteers were encouraged to make time to visit families staying at Focus Safe Park. Grounded in policies that ensure service with dignity and respect for families, these tours offer volunteers the opportunity to learn about the challenges families face, enriching understanding, compassion and engagement. to continue to support community efforts to meet the needs of homeless families in South Santa Clara County.
Susan Meyers is Dean Emeritus of Lurie College of Education at San Jose State University. She is the founder and current facilitator of the South County Interfaith Community.